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Housing plan fiercely opposed

Housing plan fiercely opposed

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 11/08/2009
First Published: 10/08/2009

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
Landlords and students have united in fierce opposition to government plans to clamp down on the number of homes that can be rented by six or more unrelated people.

Ministers have proposed giving councils the power to limit the number of houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).

Areas with a high concentration of HMOs are said to have problems with anti-social behaviour, litter, parking and noise, but opponents say the proposals are a knee jerk reaction.

Wes Streeting, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said such moves would marginalise students from communities and would do nothing to improve social cohesion.

The NUS has joined forces with property groups, The British Property Federation, National Landlords Association and Residential Landlords Association to oppose the plans, saying they would create student ghettos and dictate where people live based on income.

Such restrictions on HMOs would also affect migrant workers and young professionals, while local businesses would suffer if students were forced out of areas, say the groups.

The property industry has said it wants a local management option to tackle the problems without the introduction of such legislation, which could take local circumstances into account and offer cost effective solutions.

"Only a fraction of places suffer from a high concentration of HMOs and using a broad brush to deal with different issues relating to anti-social behaviour makes no sense," said Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation.

Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association highlighted the ramifications such legislation could have on the property market. "The move threatens the mortgage value of rented properties," he said.

"Planning permission can affect the marketability and value of property, forcing landlords to repay capital on their loans, or sell, resulting in a loss of homes for tenants."

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