The RLA has today (20.09.13) responded to Leicester City Council’s request for feedback on proposals for the introduction of Article 4 Directions which requires property owners to attain planning permission before conducting any changes to the home in question.
Article 4 Directions are typically put in place to put a restriction on the number of Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) by forcing owners to seek out planning permission where originally this was not required. The RLA opposes these schemes for the large part as HMOs can provide affordable and flexible housing options for groups that may otherwise struggle to get into accommodation.
The RLA stance on such schemes is that local authorities and councils have more than enough legislative power within their current set of laws to regulate the housing market effectively.
One of the strongest arguments for the utilisation of HMO properties come from examples such as Leeds, Nottingham and Manchester. In these cities landlords have been making intensive use of the existing stock in place where it might otherwise be underutilised and poorly maintained. HMOs are key to a mobile workforce and provide young workers and professionals the ability to choose where they want to live.
One major argument against high concentrations of HMOs in an area is the fear that the area in question will suffer from ‘studentification’. However, experience has shown that in areas where students are concentrated landlords are willing to make considerable improvements and commit large amounts of capital thereby enhancing and upgrading the quality of the area in question.
Article 4 Directions and other restrictions may place doubt in the mind of landlords looking to invest in local areas, and could lead to degeneration that the council is trying to avoid.
You can read more about these arguments, along with many others within the RLA consultation document: “The RLA’s case against Article 4 Directions for small houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs)”
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