Council urged to bring in tighter regulations to fix 'huge problem' of HMOs in Northampton
"Communities are being disestablished because there are too many HMOs"
The council has been urged to investigate and tighten regulations on the 'huge problem' of houses in multiple occupancies (HMOs) in Northampton.
Danielle Stone, town councillor for the Castle ward, has called on the West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) to provide an update regarding an investigation into HMOs in the town.
A motion was passed at the last full council meeting on September 23 which asked for a review of HMOs to be completed by April next year.And now Councillor Stone wants to know if WNC has started its investigation and when the findings will be released.
The Chronicle & Echo has approached the council for comment but has not yet received a response.
Councillor Stone said: "We want to gather lots of evidence from landlords, residents, and people who live in HMOs. There needs to be a process and then we need a panel to make recommendations to say what needs to happen.
"We had a petition go in with 800 signatures on it [against HMOs]. We have had lots of social media interest, some residents are really fired up and want to play their part in finding solutions. People want to see action.
"We are looking for solutions because HMOs are a huge problem. We have too many all in the same area like in Semilong or the Castle ward [town centre] and, increasingly, Abington.
"Communities are being disestablished because there are too many HMOs."
Councillor Stone claimed there are also 'too many' illegal HMOs in the town, and that around 800 HMOs in total are on a council list to be investigated
Councillor Stone said: "We have got too many illegal HMOs. 800 properties are on a list to be investigated. This is all being reported to them by residents.
"The council has got investigatory powers but it does not have a team big enough to do this [carry out investigations]."
What are the effects of HMOs?
Councillor Stone said: "Lots of people coming and going; different people coming and going; some houses have more tenants than allowed; some are human trafficking. All of this causes alarm in neighbourhoods. People like to know who their neighbours are.
"It disestablishes communities and causes them to feel unstable. People who want to bring families up in these areas don't feel safe."
What regulations would you like to see brought in?
Councillor Stone said: "What I'm looking for is an agreement to have fewer HMOs. It's currently 10 HMOs every 50 metres, I want that to be every 100 metres. I want there to be restrictions so that there are no HMOs next to each other.
"I think there are things that we can put in place to help residents say they are getting their communities back."
The council has been asked but has not yet responded to the following questions:
Has the investigation into HMOs begun? How many HMOs are on the council's list to investigate? How many illegal HMOs in the town is the council aware of?