Worcester City Council is seeking feedback from local residents on existing scheme introduced to help raise standards in the city’s Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
The council is especially interested to hear the views from tenants, landlords and residents living near HMOs.
Since 2015 in Worcester the licensing requirement has been extended to cover smaller HMOs rented by three or more tenants, forming two or more households, and also to some converted buildings.
“Standards in HMOs can often be lower than other rented properties due to poor conversions of older buildings, regular changes in occupiers and poor management by the landlord,” says Councillor James Stanley, Chair of the Communities Committee.
“The affordability of this type of accommodation makes it an attractive option for students, new professionals and vulnerable people. The aim of licensing is to ensure that HMOs are properly managed and provide good standards which address the health, safety and welfare of tenants and others in the vicinity.”
Since the extension of the HMO licensing scheme in Worcester, 527 properties have made improvements in fire safety measures, 124 properties have made improvements to amenities standards and 148 properties have made improvement to provide sufficient heating and ventilation. All these HMOs are required to submit copies of their safety certificates for gas, electricity, fire alarms and emergency lighting and also to ensure that these are all kept well maintained.
Landlords are required to keep the property in good condition and to work with local organisations to help reduce anti-social behaviour from tenants.
The current Worcester City Additional Licensing Scheme will expire on 31 August 2020 and the Council is now seeking feedback from local people to help to decide whether it will work for a further five years.
“Continuing the scheme would help to maintain and raise property and management standards – and ensure that there is a level playing field for all landlords,” says Cllr Stanley.
“However we want to be sure that the scheme is working in its current format, so we would welcome a wide range of feedback from local people with experience of owning, renting or living near an HMO.”
Your views will help the Council to decide whether to extend the Additional Licensing scheme until 2025.
To have your say, please go to www.worcester.gov.uk/voiceit.