Due to an increase of students, Liverpool has seen a rise in the conversion of single dwellings into houses of multiple occupation and the council is launching a consultation. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Council is consulting the public over proposed plans to limit the number of conversions of houses into multiple apartments.
Thanks largely to an increase in its student population, Liverpool has seen a big rise in the conversion of single dwellings into houses of multiple occupation (HMO). Current rules on housing benefit are also fuelling demand for single person households.
Cllr Barry Kushner, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for Housing, says there is evidence that the increase in the number of HMOs was become disruptive to local communities and had reached a tipping point.
There have been reports of an increase in parking, anti-social behaviour and waste collection issues in certain neighbourhoods. There is also a concern that the trend could reduce the city’s stock of family homes.
Currently, conversion of family houses into larger HMOs – seven bedrooms and above – must have planning permission, meaning that the council has some ability to influence where and how larger HMOs are developed.
The authority has now begun a two-month consultation process which is asking for opinions on whether the same rules should be introduced across the inner core of the city for any new HMOs of less than seven bedrooms via something called Article 4. If implemented, the decision will have no impact on existing HMOs.
Cllr Kushner said: “We have launched a public consultation on implementing Article 4 to support our view that the spread of HMOs in our communities needs more regulation, because residents tell us how they are damaging the fabric and stability of their community.
“This is hugely important in supporting our communities. We want to hear from residents and businesses about the impact that HMOs are having on them and their neighbourhood through this consultation, and also from landlords about their views on the proposals.
“As a council we need to have the ability to offer families of all different sizes and people with a whole host of needs a variety of good quality, affordable homes. If unchecked HMOs will reduce that offer.”
Iff approved, the new Article 4 direction would come into force on 10 April 2021 and would apply to the following wards in the city: Anfield, Central, Greenbank, Kensington and Fairfield, Picton, Princes Park, Riverside, Tuebrook And Stoneycroft, Wavertree.
The deadline for comments for the HMO public consultation will be midnight on Friday, February 19, 2021. People can write by post to: Regulatory Team, Legal Services, Liverpool City Council, Cunard Building, Water Street, Liverpool L3 1AH. They can email Housing.Strategy@liverpool.gov.uk or click here.