Bedford Borough Council has commissioned experts to look at the impact of converting residential properties to shared houses, also known as ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ or ‘HMOs’.
Currently, houses can be converted into what are called ‘small HMOs’ for up to six people, without the need for planning permission.
HMOs can be an important source of low-cost, private-sector housing for students, those looking for less long-term accommodation, and people on lower incomes. They can also have a significant impact on a local area, particularly when a significant number of houses are converted in one area.
This study will investigate whether the Council should strengthen planning controls for HMOs in the Borough, so that any proposals for a new HMO for up to six persons would need planning permission before the house is converted.
This would give the Council increased oversight of the conversion of properties to HMOs in our Borough, and so ensure that an individual could not convert an inappropriate residence into a shared house. HMOs can be an important source of housing, and it is crucial that they provide good quality housing for residents.
Experts will investigate data, look at a range of different issues and perspectives, and invite thoughts and views from members of the public.
Members of the public are invited to a drop-in session at Borough Hall, on Thursday 4th July from 12pm-8pm. People can also find out more and make their views heard online at www.wyg.com/planning/consultations/bedford-hmo-study
Cllr Henry Vann, Portfolio Holder for Town Centres and Planning said “This is a very important study to look in depth at what is a really important aspect of people’s day-to-day lives; where they live. Check the website, come along to the drop-in session if you can, and take this opportunity to have your say.”
The study is expected to be completed by the end of the summer and a recommendation made to the Council’s Executive.