Houses in Multiple Occupation in Bath

Oldfield RooftopsA study considering the options open to the Council for regulating and controlling the future growth of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) within the City of Bath (including university student house shares) has been undertaken.

We know that many people have questions about the potential impact of such controls so we have prepared a HMO Questions and Answers section on this website.

A range of options have been identified by the Council which include:

  • Planning Controls to curb the increase in Houses of Multiple Occupation. Including the use of an ‘Article 4 Direction’ to trigger the need for a planning application when changing use from a family home to a small House in Multiple Occupation (with 3-5 unrelated people living together). A new Planning Policy would need to be introduced alongside this.
  • Extension of licencing by Housing Services to increase regulations and standards existing and future Houses in Multiple Occupation.

The Council has held a Stakeholder workshop in October 2011, click here to view a report of the workshop.

The issue has been considered by the Policy Transport & Environment Policy Development & Scrutiny Panel Report on 6th December 2011, click here to view the report.

Both the Development Control Committee and Cabinet are due to consider the options in March 2012. As always, please let us know your views on this subject.

7 thoughts on “Houses in Multiple Occupation in Bath

  1. Jennifer Morris says:

    Having lived in Oldfield Park as a full time resident most of my life, I agree entirely with Barry Cruse’s comments. This area is that most affected by the University invasion and has changed beyond all recognition. It is mainly a transient population which can never return to its former makeup. Former full time residents have moved to places that still have a community spirit and the only time we experience that spirit in Oldfield Park is during University holidays. It is nice to see the old Oldfield Park return at that time. The action and influence of the Student Union/university in the recent poll says it all. If only they could canvas the landlords/students to care about the properties they are in we might be impressed. I am in favour of control on HMOs.

  2. Henry says:

    I’m amazed to see that many people’s version of politics and democracy means that its only their point of view that gets a legitimate say in a poll, and anyone with an opposing point of view doesn’t have the same say.

    The students in Oldfield Park get the same vote as everyone else who lives there in our democracy. They make up a significant part of the voting population that voted in the Liberal Democrat councillors, and now their views are being ignored.

    This is bad politics.

    I’d like to point out that people keep talking about community spirit, but it was our house who went round and took mince pies to all our neighbours this christmas, the first time we had met many of them. We didn’t get many of the long term residents introducing themselves to us, it was the other way round. Community Spirit is a two-way partnership.

    • oldfield says:

      Hi Henry,

      Thanks for your comments. They are welcome here as are all current Oldfield Ward residents’ comments.

      Thank you for taking the time to wish your neighbours a good Christmas – That’s really positive – the vast majority of students are, like you, good people and good neighbours.

      We very much understand that students at our universities want as much choice of good quality accomodation as possible. Do you have any thoughts about whether the Council should enhance their licensing scheme to help improve the quality of accomodation in the private rented sector? Are there any other community issues you are concerned about in Oldfield Ward?

  3. Henry says:

    I don’t think any students would complain about an enhanced licensing scheme, as it would protect them from propety developers and landlords who are just out to make a quick profit.

    I believe that some people should not be allowed to go and turn their property into an HMO at will, but using article 4 direction to try and lower the amount of students in oldfield park, is not going to work, when the alternatives haven’t been outlined clearly.

    I feel long term residents of Oldfield Park would just be dissapointed with a solution that although will look like action is being taken, it will change very little about the actual situation they are unhappy with (Antisocial behaviour, parking etc).

    • oldfield says:

      Hi Henry,

      You are right that and Artilce 4 direction won’t change much in the short term, but it will stop an excessive number of HMOs being created in the medium and long term.

      We also have the student community partnership which promotes student and community relations

      There are some clear alternatives as well. Bath Spa intends to create over 600 study rooms on the Newton Park Campus:

      Bath Uni plans to develop a further 2,500 study rooms on its campus:

      An Article 4 direction won’t mean no more HMOs can be created within the City, the council needs to get the policy right to ensure that it caps the number in residential streets which already have a very high number of HMOs.

      Thanks for your comments about the licensing – I know that some of the housing in the area can be poorly maintained if there is a rouge landlord, and we too think better licensing will help that.

  4. Henry says:

    It seems to me that the universities buliding more accomodation is not an alternative, as that would have happened anyway, regardless of what is happening in oldfield park.

    The university is continuing to expand and take in a very large amount of new students, and this is causing more accomodation needed on campus for first years and first years only.

    What happens when all these new students need to find housing in Bath?

    • oldfield says:

      These are good points and the Universities bear a significant corporate responsibility to expand their businesses in a sustainable way.

      The good news is that Bath Uni have told us that they will increase their student numbers to just over 16,000 by 2020. There are currently just under 15,000 students at Bath Uni. As long as they build the 2,500 study rooms they have promised this will be fine. See page 10 of the masterplan, but beware it is a 9Mb document:

      Over at Bath Spa, the 600 rooms mentioned earlier (possibly rising to 1000 by 2030) would be enough to accomodate all first years based at that campus. At present, the Uni block books residential streets in Oldfield Park for the freshers they cannot accomodate on campus. So this will be a big improvement.

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