New data reveals where illegal HMOs are in Northampton and the common causes for complaints

This newspaper submitted a freedom of information request to the council asking about illegal HMOs in the town

By Logan MacLeod
Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 4:47 pm

There are currently 16 illegal houses in multiple occupancies (HMOs) in Northampton known to the authorities - here's where they are located and what the council has said.

This newspaper submitted a freedom of information request to West Northamptonshire Council asking about illegal HMOs in the town after increasing concerns from residents and councillors.

The following wards all currently have illegal HMOs known to the council in their area: Castle, Semilong, Abington, Spinney Hill, Headlands, Sunnyside, Obelisk and St David’s.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

There are 16 illegal HMOs currently known to the authorities in Northampton

How many complaints and reports has the council received from members of the public about both legal and illegal HMOs?

The following complaints have been reported between April 1, when WNC first formed, and November about 49 different HMOs.

Seven complaints relating to licensed HMOs

16 parking complaints

Nine complaints about the number of occupants

23 complaints about people coming and going from the property during lockdown

Eight complaints about rubbish

Three noise complaints

Three illegal eviction complaints

How many illegal HMOs have been passed on for police to investigate?

Since April 1, there have been five complaints that have included smells of cannabis, the council said.

How much money has the council spent this year trying to combat illegal HMOs?

A West Northamptonshire spokeswoman said the private sector housing team does not directly allocate costs to individual team functions.

However, the net cost for the private sector housing service from the April 1 to November 19 is £228,378. The net budget for the private sector housing services for 2021/22 is £103,714.

How many people are on the council's illegal HMO investigatory team?

This question was asked following claims from councillors that there was potentially a lack of resources at the council to police illegal HMOs.

There are 14 full-time staff at the council working on the private sector housing team.

The council spokeswoman said: "None of the private rented sector officers are specifically employed in an illegal HMO investigatory team and all cover a full range of private sector housing duties."

Councillor Danielle Stone has this year been campaigning on behalf of her Castle ward residents for the council to bring in tighter regulations on HMOs.

Councillor Stone said: "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 and, increasingly, Abington.

"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."

Read More

Read More
Council urged to bring in tighter regulations to fix 'huge problem' of HMOs in N...