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New policy sets out strict controls on future and existing HMOs

A local authority with a rapidly-growing number of HMOs is to consult over a new policy later this month.

The Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document proposes revisions to the tests Bath and North East Somerset council uses to assess planning applications for new and “intensified” HMOs. 

The proposals have already had input from resident associations, estate agents, Bath Student Community Partnership and Bath Spa University.


Councillor Tim Ball, the council member responsible for planning, says: “The private rental housing market in Bath is complex, and there is a diverse demand for flexible housing. HMOs are occupied by a wide range of groups including young professionals, students, immigrants, asylum seekers, those on housing benefit and contract workers. They therefore have an important role to play in Bath’s economy.

“HMOs have traditionally been more concentrated in certain areas of the city … By changing how we assess planning applications for HMOs we aim to encourage a sustainable community in Bath and the wider district, supporting a wide variety of households in all areas.”

The proposed changes will include detailed planning changes outlining when properties require consent to become an HMO, or to be extended from a small HMO to a larger one. 


Specifically, through the new proposals, “applications will not be permitted where it would result in any residential property being ‘sandwiched’ between two HMOs, or where the application tips the concentration to 10 per cent or more HMO properties within a 100m radius of the application property, or where there is already a concentration of 10 per cent or more.”

The proposals will go out for public consultation for six weeks from August 27 to October and the council says “a particular effort will be made to engage with HMO occupiers and landlords/owners.”

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  • icon

    There is a reason so many more HMOs are springing up - its all people can afford! Families may not like living sandwiched between HMOs but don't blame the LLs who are responding to demand, blame LAs and Govt policy that have put houses out of the reach of single adults.

    We desperately need more affordable housing so stop bashing LLs and build them!

  • girish mehta

    Failure of government policies over last few decades have brought us where we are today. Destroying unions , collective bargaining have destroyed people living standards. If the earnings were kept with inflection then average earnings would be higher and house price still be 2.5 to 3 times of average earnings, but have risen to 10 times,government policies and tactic of divide and rule in favour of big business and and their political donations More recently politics of envy . The government now actively legislation and recently advising tenants to withhold rent and making difficult for landlords to recover rent.


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