Issue - meetings

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) Controls

Meeting: 22/07/2024 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Services (Item 5.)

5. Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs): A Review of HMO Controls (2023) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

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Meeting: 04/11/2021 - Community Executive Advisory Board (Item 44)

44 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) Controls pdf icon PDF 832 KB

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The Executive Advisory Board (EAB) considered a report which provided information regarding the viability of applying further controls to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and reviewed the potential amount, and recovery of, costs incurred by the Council in relation to HMOs.


Due to the level of evidence required to bring forth further HMO controls, the report considered the nature of HMO occupiers and examined HMO spread, density and connection to complaints from the public, including reports of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) to both the Council and the Police.


The report was led by data which had been collected and analysed prior to the evaluation of the options available to extend HMO controls and this data had informed discussions in respect of the feasibility of further HMO controls in the Borough.  The report discussed legal responsibilities, potential cost gaps and suggested methods to close any potential cost gaps in relation to topics such as waste collection and Council Tax / Business Rates.


The report detailed several areas of risk to the Council and significant challenges to both resourcing of Place Services and Environment & Regulatory Services and in addition, to the effectiveness of either an Article 4 Direction (requiring planning permission for the change of use of a flat or house to an HMO where 3 or more unrelated people would occupy the dwelling) and / or additional licensing controls would have if implemented.  The spread and density of existing HMOs could not be controlled by an Article 4 Direction.


The data analysed in the report did not support the theory that HMO density was causational to ASB.


The data indicated that reports to the Council or Police relating to HMOs were not sufficiently significant or frequent to warrant extending additional controls to the HMO marketplace and the evidence suggested that application to the Secretary of State to either enact Article 4 or to extend HMO licensing in Guildford, to include areas of additional licensing schemes, would not be successful.


The report contained recommendations to the Executive that an Article 4 Direction and additional HMO licensing should not be pursued as these measures were not supported by current data.  It was further recommended that the Council may wish to consider encouraging a change in national legislation to require private domestic landlords to pay business rates and that landlords be free to choose between the private and public sector to comply with their legal duty to have accumulations of commercial waste removed from HMO properties.


The reason for the recommendation was that an HMO review report considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 29 June 2021 had prompted further review by the EAB of the options available to the Council to control the spread and density of HMOs and to evaluate potential cost gaps of HMOs to the Council.  In addition, to identify if the Council could successfully implement further controls by analysing the relationship between the current HMO spread and density with links to ASB and complaints to the Council and HMOs.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44

Meeting: 19/04/2021 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 7.)

7. Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Update pdf icon PDF 806 KB

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