Calls for councillors to inspect the licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) across Wrexham have been made. A topic request form has been submitted for consideration by members of the homes and environment scrutiny committee.
It states that: “For some time members have expressed concern over the quality, appropriateness and size of accommodation which is offered to individuals residing in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and which is controlled by the licensing regime rather than through the planning process.”
The concerns over the accommodation size and amenity space provided in some HMO proposals occurred several times over the years among councillors and planning committee members.
Talking about plans to convert a property on the outskirts of the town into an HMO last December, Cllr Jeorrett said it was a “great disappointment that adults are having to live in one room with a long term impact on health and wellbeing.”
As part of the HMO licensing control, it was suggested that scrutiny “undertake a review of how the current standards were arrived at” and if they are nationally prescribed or determined locally.
FIND HMO LICENSING SERVICES COMPANIES IN THE HMO DIRECTORY
It also proposes that the committee:
– Compare with other Local Authorities to establish if our standards are more or less generous than others and if they need reviewing.
– Consider the issue of bed spaces versus bedrooms and occupancy numbers.
– Consider how to ensure that HMOs offer a reasonable standard of accommodation by providing rooms of an adequate size for the number of occupants and reasonable communal living areas/ circulation space.
– Establish if there need to have differing standards for the various types of HMO eg. those that primarily house contractors who are working in the area and those that are conventionally let to tenants – (the former having a much greater parking need)
– Possibly look at a “Landlords Charter” on how they will deal with complaints
It is hoped that the scrutiny committee will help “remove the tensions between determining planning applications and and the licensing regime for HMOs” – along with “ensuring a better quality of accommodation for the tenants” and “reducing the tensions with the adjoining community neighbours”.
It was assumed that the topic will take four months to be examined by scrutiny members.