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A new crackdown on substandard HMOs has been approved in Dudley to stop rogue landlords who cram tenants into overcrowded homes.

Councillors say they need to “make sure that new homes in Dudley Borough meet a certain standard of quality for the good of the people who live in them”.

Developers looking to turn a property into an HMO (house in multiple occupation) for up to six people will now have to apply to Dudley Council for planning permission under the new ‘Article 4 Direction’ passed this week.

While HMOs help to meet a specific housing need, especially for those on a low income, there are concerns that high concentrations in certain areas are harming their character, putting pressure on infrastructure and diminishing community relations.

It is claimed the main issues with HMOs revolve around anti-social behaviour, noise, inadequate living conditions, litter and parking issues.

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Evidence provided by West Midlands Police and the council’s anti-social behaviour team found a correlation between HMOs and increased crime and drug offence levels.

The ‘Article 4 Direction’ has now been rubber-stamped after a six-week consultation period. Councillors say the new legislation will allow the council to keep tabs on the standards of homes across the borough.

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Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “We need to make sure that new homes in Dudley Borough meet a certain standard of quality for the good of the people who live in them and other residents in the local area.

“It’s clear from the evidence gathered that the unchecked creation of small HMOs using permitted development rights undermines our ability to properly plan developments in our neighbourhoods.

“Our plan will create consistency in the planning system so all HMOs must go through the scrutiny of a planning application before they are created. But we won’t just stop at this measure, because the emerging Black Country Plan will also introduce new policies to make sure new homes are better quality and do not detract from the wider local area.”

By Josh Horritt

Source: Express & Star

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