Plan to tackle steep rise in bedsits causing anti-social behaviour in Doncaster

Doncaster CouncilDoncaster Council
Doncaster Council
Doncaster housing bosses have laid out plans to crackdown on steep rise of bedsits and shared houses which cause anti-social behaviour.

Doncaster housing bosses have laid out plans to crackdown on steep rise of bedsits and shared houses which cause anti-social behaviour.

Councillors will discuss new measures to bring homes of multiple occupancy (HMOs) up to an acceptable standard.

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A report seen seen by councillors on the planning committee highlights the town centre, Hexthorpe and Balby as areas with high numbers of HMOs, many of which generate 'problems with anti-social behaviour'.

Figures show there are 978 HMO in Doncaster - 83 per cent of which are based 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 at Doncaster Council cited a 'change in migration patterns, housing benefits and the attraction to property investors of low house prices' in Doncaster have all contributed to a large increase in the number of small HMOs.

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Currently, a landlord does not need to have planning permission to convert a house into a HMO with six bedrooms.

But if approved, an Article 4 Direction (A4D) and additional licensing schemes will mean landlords will have to apply for planning permission to change any property into a HMO.

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

This will enable housing officers to know where these properties are and place conditions on the landlord to ensure minimum standards of safety, welfare and management are maintained.

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If approved, the direction is likely to come into force in summer 2019. This includes a 12 month period without which the council could be liable for compensation payments to property owners who wished to benefit from the permitted development rights that the A4D removes.

In a report seen by councillors, Richard Purcell, head of development management at Doncaster Council, said: "An A4D will mean that planning permission will be needed to change a single house into any size of HMO.

"By making a requirement to apply for planning permission the local planning authority could reject applications if demonstrable harm will result or impose conditions to reduce the impact upon neighbouring residents such as sound insulation and sufficient storage for waste and recycling bins etc.

"The forthcoming local plan will set out criteria for acceptable HMO applications and where these criteria are not met applications could be refused. A4D cannot be applied retrospectively to development undertaken before the direction comes into force."

The planning committee will make recommendations before being sent to cabinet members for approval or refusal.