Northampton Borough Council votes new measures to manage safety in overcrowded houses

The full cabinet voted to enact the proposals on March 15.

The full cabinet voted to enact the proposals on March 15.

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A law has been passed to help Northampton borough Council control and manage the number Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO).

Homeowners in Far Cotton, Delapré and Cliftonville will now have to apply for planning permission before converting a family home into a shared house.

Julie Davenport, ward councillor for Delapré & Briar Hill, said: "I'm very happy for the homeowners of Far Cotton particularly, who have so many terraced houses that developers seem to love.

"Through this, at least we can inspect HMOs for proper fire standards, insurance and safety regulations."

An HMO is a property rented out by at least three people not from the same family but share facilities like bathrooms or kitchens.

The direction - Article 4(1) - was voted on due to "a growing rental sector and increasing demand for student accommodation," making the housing option popular with landlords.

The proposal was passed at a cabinet meeting on March 15. It will take place in two phases, at first taking immediate effect within a small area bounded by the River Nene Rothersthorpe Road, with the wider area being affected in 12 months.

Councillor Davenport said: "We were seeing available family houses being taken up with HMOs and you could have eight people living in three bedrooms. That also brings problems with rubbish collection and parking.

"Thank you to all the residents of Far Cotton who helped gather the evidence we needed to have this put forward."

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said:

“Far Cotton, Delapré and Cliftonville have been identified as they are desirable locations, within walking distance of the town centre as well as the new university campus, and we want to make sure we can balance the growing demand for student accommodation with the need to protect the existing amenities and the wellbeing of other local residents.

“The change does not mean that planning permission won’t be granted, as each application will be considered on its merits. However, it does give us an opportunity to consider is

Northampton Borough Council has a dedicated helpline for anyone concerned about a privately rented HMO near them and for landlords who might want advice – the number to call is 0300 330 7002.