Is your street part of the council's plans to rethink how they license HMOs in Northampton?

The council is rethinking how it licenses HMOs in the town.
The council is rethinking how it licenses HMOs in the town.

Northampton residents are being asked to give their thoughts on how the borough council license HMOs in the town.

The council wants to expand the areas and criteria that allow landlords to register homes as 'houses in multiple occupancy'.

A HMO is any house with more than three people living in it that come from separate households. HMOs have to be fitted to specific standards for residents' safety and must be registered with the borough council.

However, in recent years HMOs have been criticised for inflating populations in residential streets and putting pressure on living through increased household waste and parking.

Now, Northampton Borough Council is running a ten-week consultation on plans to widen the area that is subject to licensing for HMOs.

The current licensing scheme ends on November 2 this year. The borough council wants a new, expanded scheme will come into effect the following day and could five years.

Cabinet will consider a report on the proposed scheme, including consultation results, at its meeting on July 24.

Under the new scheme, all HMOs in the new, wider area containing three or more occupants from at least two households will need to be licensed, including self-contained flats.

Landlords will need to apply for an HMO licence and failure to do so could result in conviction and an unlimited fine through the courts or a civil penalty of up to £30,000 through the council.

They might also have to pay back up to a year’s rent to either the tenant, or the council in the case of housing benefit, if a rent repayment order is applied for.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “There are far too many unlicensed HMOs across the borough and our enforcement team is doing a great job identifying and tackling them.

“There are many landlords who provide their tenants with excellent service and good quality accommodation, and this new scheme will give us the powers to deal with those who don’t.”

The consultation ends on July 14. Anyone wishing to download the report and respond can do so via an online survey through the borough council's website or by dropping into the One-Stop Shop at the Guildhall to view a paper copy of the report and collect a paper survey form.