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Leicester to Further Restrict HMOs

Posted by Aisling Murphy in

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

Councillors from Leicester City Council are due to vote on Thursday 18th November on measures that could significantly limit the number of houses being converted into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in parts of the city.

The vote follows an eight-week public consultation that concluded in January this year.

The consultation highlighted residents' concerns regarding parking problems, litter, antisocial behaviour, and noise linked to high numbers of HMOs in their neighbourhoods.

National planning laws state that no planning approval is required to convert a house into a HMO for between 3 and 6 residents. However, in areas where it is evidenced that a high number of HMOs is having a negative impact, councils can introduce an Article 4 Direction, meaning planning permission is needed for the change of use.

An Article 4 Direction has been in place since 2013 in many areas across Leicester, meaning planning permission is needed for the change of use to a HMO.

The Article 4 Direction currently covers parts of the West End, streets near to De Montfort University's campus and Leicester Royal Infirmary, numerous streets in the area between New Walk and HMP Leicester, as well as most of Clarendon Park and a section south of Lancaster Road.

Whilst the Article 4 has been successful in controlling the number of HMOs in these areas of Leicester, the council now intends to include thousands more houses in areas where high numbers of HMOs exist.

Specifically, the West End zone will now be extended to stretch from Rowley Fields, to Westcotes, Newfoundpool, and parts of the Waterside area, while the Clarendon Park area would be extended to incorporate much of Knighton Fields, Knighton, Stoneygate, and part of Aylestone. A third new area will include much of Spinney Hills and Highfields.

HMOs currently represent 7% of housing stock in Leicester. However, in some parts of the city HMOs may account for up to 38% of total housing.