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Controls over number of Houses in Multiple Occupation to be extended across Leicester

Limits to the number of homes being converted into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in parts of Leicester are due to come into effect later this month.

The measures are due to be introduced following a public consultation with residents who raised concerns about parking problems, litter, antisocial behaviour and noise linked to high numbers of HMOs in their neighbourhoods.

Leicester Time: Controls over number of Houses in Multiple Occupation to be extended across Leicester
Picture: Leicester City Council

Under current national planning laws, planning consent is not needed to convert a house into a HMO designed for between three and six people to live in.

However, where there is evidence that high numbers of HMOs in a particular area is having a negative impact upon that neighbourhood, councils can introduce a legal requirement, called an Article 4 Direction, which would mean planning permission is needed for the change of use.

An Article 4 Direction has already been in place since 2013 in several areas of the city, to control the number of HMOs.

The latest move would see Leicester City Council expanding, and in some cases joining together, those areas to include thousands more houses in areas where high numbers of HMOs exist. It follows an eight-week public consultation process which ran from November 2021 until January 2022.

The previous Article 4 Direction covered parts of the West End, streets near to De Montfort University’s campus and Leicester Royal Infirmary, numerous streets in the area between New Walk and HMP Leicester, as well as most of Clarendon Park and a section south of Lancaster Road.

The West End zone will now be extended to stretch from Rowley Fields, to Westcotes, Newfoundpool and parts of the Waterside area, while the Clarendon Park area will incorporate much of Knighton Fields, Knighton, Stoneygate and part of Aylestone.

A third new area will include much of Spinney Hills and Highfields.

The proportion of HMOs across the city as a whole is just under seven percent of housing stock; however in some parts of the areas covered by the Article 4 Direction, HMOs account for between 25 and 38 percent of housing stock.

Leicester assistant city mayor for education and housing, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “We know from residents in areas where an Article 4 Direction is already in place that it has really helped to control the number of homes being used as HMOs.

“The consultation we carried out a year ago gave us a clearer idea of how the areas covered should be extended to ensure areas retained their character and could avoid the problems linked to high numbers of HMOs, including noise, litter, antisocial behaviour and parking problems.”

Leicester City Council announced the decision on February 9, and it is due to come into effect on February 17.