Spread out homes packed with several families across Northampton

Fly tipping is a common problem in houses in multiple occupancy, Labour says
Fly tipping is a common problem in houses in multiple occupancy, Labour says

Houses packed with several families must be more widely spread in Northampton, Labours says, to give certain areas more balance.

Castle, St James , Abington, Trinity, Semilong and Kingsley all have high volumes of Victorian terraced houses that are attractive to landlords specialising in students and people on low incomes.

Often, several independent tenants can be living in a single property and Northampton Labour group said clusters of these house can cause “excessive noise, nuisance, anti-social behaviour, pressure on parking and dumping of rubbish, mattresses and furniture.”

The present maximum density of these Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HIMOs) is 15 per cent in a 50 metre radius. Labour is calling for that to be changed to one in 10 homes in a 100 metre radius outside the town centre.

Labour leader Councillor Danielle Stone said: “Everyone agrees that to make a community viable you need a mix of families, older people and younger people.

If you have too many vulnerable people - those with mental illness, perhaps distressed because of a divorce - it becomes unstable.

“People don’t have the time and energy to keep these people safe, to check on them.”

Labour also said it wanted to make sure most people in a given neighbourhood of Northampton felt responsible for it.

“We want to ensure whole areas of the town don’t become transient places where people don’t care about the streets where they live.”

A Labour group spokesman said residents of HIMOs can be vulnerable and easily exploited by unscrupulous landlords.

He said: “To quote a recently overheard landlord who was evicting a family and turning the family home he owned into a HIMO - ‘it is to maximise my investment’.”


Fly tipping is a common problem in houses in multiple occupancy, Labour says

The number of HIMO properties need sto be counted before any action can be taken, the Tory council leader has said.

Cllr Mary Markham said there is already a review underway to determine the density of houses in multiple occupany within Northampton.

Good HIMO landlords are welcome in the town, she said: “HIMOs, which provide accommodation for students and others have a place in our society.”

But those who transgress will be dealt with using a range of powers at the disposal of the local authority.

Penalties include fixed penalty notices, a court summons and fines as well as and having their licences restricted to one year only.

Commenting on the overall Labour housing plan she said: “It’s sad that when we are moving so far ahead, there are people willing to pull us apart.

“There’s nobody on the case on housing more than me.”