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10 August 2009

Proposals to cut house-sharing sparks anger

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by Kay Mitchell

Proposals to cut house-sharing sparks anger

Proposals to limit homes being rented to more than six unrelated people has been criticised by landlords and the National Union of Students (NUS).

Under the new proposals, the Government may give councils the power to restrict the number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in one area, to prevent ‘studentification’.

A spokesperson for Communities and Local Government said: “Students bring benefits to the places they live in, but too many residing in one area can impact negatively on a community.”

However, the NUS and property groups argued that students bring large sums of money into often previously derelict areas.

Furthermore, businesses within the community, that have benefited from student custom, would also suffer, if students are forced out.

Wes Streeting, president of the National Union of Students explains: “Students live and work within their communities and contribute hugely to their local areas through charity work and campaigning on local issues, not to mention the massive boost they give to the local economy.”

Residents in some areas populated by students complain that during university holidays, they become ghost towns, while houses and gardens are left untidy by tenants and landlords.

However, according to landlords, councils should be dealing with the problem locally and the new proposals are the wrong option.

Richard Price, director of operations at the National Landlords Association, adds: “Planning is about buildings; homes are about people. Changing HMO planning regulations in order to allow small groups of vociferous local residents to discriminate against certain parts of the community is not helpful.”

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