Article 4 and HMOs – What actually happened?

The Council’s Cabinet last night gave notice of intent t0 implement an Article 4 direction to cover the City of Bath within 12 months. If you are unsure what an Article 4 direction is, please see our HMO Q&A.

This decision has the effect of launching a formal six week public consultation at some point within the next 12 months.

After the consultation results and any other information that is required has been collected, the Cabinet will meet again to decide whether to:

  • Confirm (Go ahead with the Article 4 Direction),
  • Amend (Change bits, for example apply it only to some Wards / exclude some streets) or,
  • Abandon the Article 4 Direction.

The reason for giving this notice of intent is that it protects the Council from being sued by Investors if the final decision – to be taken in 12 months time – is to Confirm the Article 4 Direction

The Council also agreed to ask for evidence as to whether an Additional Licencing scheme should be applied to Homes of Multiple Occupation in the City. The HMO Q&A also explains what a licensing scheme could do.

Cllr Will Sandry made the following comments after the meeting:

“I am happy with the outcome, and was pleased with the engagement by students in our community (who spoke against the Article 4 direction) with both Local Government, and Oldfield residents (who spoke in favour).

In my speech I was clear that the universities have a corporate social responsibility not to take on more students than they or the city can accommodate.

Whilst I recognise the universities need to grow their businesses, they must engage with the Council so that we can understand their housing needs and help facilitate their aspirations for growth in a sustainable way.

The massive increase in the number of HMOs in recent years has had a long term impact on housing available in Oldfield Park for anyone not looking for multi-occupancy accommodation. The long term stability of a viable, diverse community is at a tipping point as a result of the rapid change of tenure.

Council also agreed to progress a licensing scheme for HMOs which has the potential to improve the quality of accommodation in the private rented sector. I am fed up of seeing students and other young people in my community in sub-standard accommodation, with bad landlords who do not invest in the property.”

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