New regulations approved to combat crime and anti-social behaviour from troublesome Doncaster HMOs

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Cabinet members on Doncaster Council have approved plans to crack down on a steep rise in the number of shared houses that attract anti-social behaviour.

Cabinet members on Doncaster Council have approved plans to crack down on a steep rise in the number of shared houses that attract anti-social behaviour.

New measures will bring homes of multiple occupancy - HMOs - up to an acceptable standard.

A report seen by members highlights central areas in Doncaster with high numbers of HMOs, many of which generate problems with anti-social behaviour’.

Figures show there are 978 HMOs in Doncaster - 83 per cent in Balby, Hexthorpe, the town centre, Intake and Wheatley Hills.

Across Doncaster, 57 per cent of all HMOs attracted a complaint to the council. In Hexthorpe alone, 46 out of 47 HMOs received a complaint between 2012 and 2017.

Housing chiefs said a change in migration patterns, housing benefits and the attraction to property investors of low house prices’ have all contributed to a large increase in the number of small HMOs.

Currently, landlords do not need planning permission to convert a house into a HMO with up to six bedrooms.

Cabinet passed a recommendation to implement an Article 4 Direction - A4D - and additional licensing schemes will mean landlords must apply for planning permission to change a property into a HMO.

Additional licensing measures give the council power to require all HMOs landlords in the scheme to apply for a licence and provide details of the management arrangements and the property.

Housing officers will know where properties are and place conditions on landlords to ensure minimum standards of safety, welfare and management are maintained.

The changes come into force in summer 2019. This includes a year without which the council could be liable for compensation payments to property owners who wished to benefit from permitted development rights that the A4D removes.

Coun Glyn Jones, cabinet member for housing, said: "As someone who's ward is directly affected by these small HMOs, this regulation is definitely needed.

"There is so many issues around anti-social behaviour, parking and criminality so I welcome the recommendations set out in the documents."

Coun Joe Blackham, cabinet member for highways and street scene, said: "I have every reason it will work extremely well and address many of the issues that we've got.

"It's unfortunate there has to be much a strong evidence base because these small HMOs are extending across the borough in total now and they're beginning to change the dynamics of many, even relatively small communities."