South West

Update: Bath and North East Somerset A4D

RLA
Written by RLA

The RLA would like to update members and landlords in the Bath and North East Somerset area that local council has moved forward with plans to limit the amount of homes in multiple occupancy (HMOs) in certain areas of the district…

The RLA would like to update members and landlords in the Bath and North East Somerset area that local council has moved forward with plans to limit the amount of homes in multiple occupancy (HMOs) in certain areas of the district.

The RLA made initial responses to consultations run by the council last August (2012). The restrictions in place will not relate retrospectively so any plans already in place will not be impeded.

At the time of the initial consultation the RLA provided a set of reasons why the implementation of Article 4 Directions would be detrimental to the area, some of these objections are:

  • HMOs contribute to regeneration by making intensive use of the existing stock in places where it might be otherwise underutilised and poorly maintained; such as in Leeds, Nottingham and Manchester.
  • HMOs provide a vital service to the economies of many of our towns and cities, providing mobility for young workers and young professionals and creating vibrant and diverse local communities.
  • HMOs also provide affordable housing for residents at a time of high house prices.
  • Article 4 takes away freedom of choice for people to choose where they live.
  • Article 4 directions simply stop more HMOs being created, and do not alleviate any problems that may already exist. They are simply another layer of bureaucracy. Instead, it is better to address existing problems through existing legislation and powers.

The restrictions in place are very strong, one in particular that stands out is planning for an HMO will be rejected outright if 25% or more of the surrounding houses already fill HMO criteria.

At the time of the previous consultation in August of 2012, the RLA noted that:

“…Article 4 proposal has now been overshadowed by the failings exposed by the Planning Inspectorate in its preliminary examination of BandNES’s core planning strategy. The Inspectorate had “fundamental concerns with Council’s methodology for assessing the housing requirement,” which included, “Suppressing housing provision below actual demand,” meaning “local people in need of a home lose out to wealthier in-migrants”.

The Inspectorate concluded, “In the absence of adequate evidence in relation to the housing requirement, there are no main modifications which I can suggest now to move the Examination forward.  Substantial further work by the Council will be required.”

The suspension of the inspection now means that any future implementation of the Article 4 direction would not be backed by a relevant and robust planning framework, posing serious questions about the suitability of the direction.”

The RLA is very involved with these sorts of changes in local council planning and has responded to similar proposals and implementations in Falmouth, Chester, Tendring, and consultation in Worcester.

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About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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