Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Southampton set to embrace new housing powers

Southampton City Council is set to embrace new powers which will allow it to protect family homes and control where excessive concentrations of houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) spring up in the city.

Last week the council received
government guidance on new ways to control HMOs – rented homes where three or more unrelated people live.

The council is now looking at the best way to use these new powers, named Article 4, which means it will be able to refuse new HMOs in Southampton, where they are appropriate.

Article 4 powers allow local authorities to implement strict planning rules in specific areas. The rules require landlords to attain planning permission before turning homes into rented HMOs.

These powers would allow us to look carefully at areas in the city where there are problems or issues with houses of multiple occupancy. We can also look at areas where there are concerns from residents about protecting where they live in the future.

It means we can insist that landlords apply for planning permission if they change the use of a house into a HMO.

As well as exploring how it will use Article 4, the council is also working with communities and organisations to make sure plenty of houses remain as family homes in Southampton.

We want to embrace diversity in Southampton and make sure we cater for all. However we must protect family homes and make sure Southampton is a place where families can live and enjoy. To do that we need to make sure there are lots of family homes for our residents to choose from. That is why as well as looking at these new powers, we are also working with people like private landlords and the University of Southampton, who we are supporting with their accommodations strategy.

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