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Plans to change HMO licensing in Bexley 'won't address resident's problems' says expert

PUBLISHED: 16:48 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:48 18 January 2017

Bexley Council offices

Bexley Council offices

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Landlords are meeting tomorrow

Plans to add additional licensing for landlords renting Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the borough have been rubbished by one landlord expert.

According to Gavin Dick, from the National Landlords Association, plans to create an Article 4 directive, which would make it harder for HMOs to get approval from Bexley council, won’t address the problems residents already have with the properties.

The local authority policy officer was speaking ahead of a meeting of landlords which takes place today (Thursday) at Bexley council offices.

He said: “This move would actually benefit existing landlords, as there would be less competition.

“The council aren’t going to solve the problem, all of the property currently listed as shared usage will stay as shared usage, because they’re more profitable that way.”

Council leader Teresa O’Neill commented: “There is a need for well-managed HMOs in the borough.

“Many are used by students or young professionals, some are there to ease the enormous housing pressure that we are currently under.

“But we must have some better local regulation in place. This new licensing scheme is being proposed in the current absence of any nationally applied rules.”

But Mr Dick claims greater regulation could affect housing prices, referencing two neighbouring homes put up for sale elsewhere in the country which were sold a week apart.

The house which had been listed for shared usage sold for £50,000 more than the other.

In its consultation, the council links anti-social behaviour (ASB) with HMO location.

Mr Dick countered: “People could complain over anything as small as someone parking in their spot because it’s cost-effective for landlords to deal with ASB complaints by ending a tenancy, the course of natural justice is being eroded.

“The council are trying to solve a social issue with a political gimmick.”

The consultation ends January 24.

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