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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