Plans for two houses of multiple occupancy in Erith have been backed by councilors despite neighbors’ concerns of rats, mice and anti-social behavior.
A house in multiple occupation is a property rented out by at least 4 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen.
According to neighbors there are four other HMOs in the area that are not managing their bins properly and cause problems with vermin.
16 neighbors signed the petition saying similar set-ups in the area have created an”unattractive and unhealthy” living environment.
One resident said at the meeting that the road was already struggling with the other “poorly managed” houses.
“There isn’t enough room for everyone to live there. I am asking you to emphasize with us who are living there.
“Everybody is amazed that 10 occupants are being proposed – already we are struggling with rats and mice.
“You have a duty to look after us – you don’t have to side with the landlords. We are already struggling.” – said Miss Balfour, who lives close to the proposed houses.
The developer Oliver Holland said that the proposals went above and beyond what is required for an HMO approval: “I appreciate the concern about the poor the management of other HMOs on the street.
“We have spent a considerable amount of time on this property to provide decent and well needed accommodation. Twelve years as a HMO landlord tells me that good tenant vetting and management is essential.
“We have had both properties tested for sound pollution and results came back well above the required standard.
“Bexley needs more HMOs. They are an important part of the housing offer reducing pressure from other elements of the housing stock.”
There are no limits for the number of HMOs in a specific area.
The scheme was backed by councilors, which would have 1 six-bed and 1 four-bed shared home built despite more than a dozen objections.
“We have to be careful not to conflate HMOs with anti-social behavior.
“It seems the landlords have taken all the steps to provide good quality accommodation. Sadly they are a fact of life in our housing market.
“It’s sad Winifred Road has a lot of them but we should be encouraging good landlords and good properties – and not fail them on the failings of other properties.” – said the ward councilor Cllr Nicola Taylor.