Bournemouth Borough council has issued the following release today 19 November:
Targeted enforcement, landlord accreditation and more partnership working is being considered to improve housing conditions and the standards of management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Bournemouth.
The Council has been investigating a range of options to tackle a variety of issues raised by residents in the Winton and Charminster area about the poor conditions of HMOs as well as other community-related issues such as noise, unsightly gardens, anti-social behaviour and letting boards.
Councillors will be considering at Cabinet (20 November) an approach which combines the robust use of enforcement powers with improved partnership working and a wider Landlord Accreditation Scheme to improve HMOs in the Winton East, Wallisdown and Winton West and Queens Park wards. This could mean that a designated officer would be assigned to the Winton wards to carry out targeted enforcement, engage with landlords, partners and the community to improve housing conditions and deal with residents’ concerns about the area.
The suggestion follows public consultation which found that many people felt that tougher action should be taken against landlords who do not maintain or properly manage their properties. The problems of noise nuisance, anti-social behaviour, parking and rubbish bins were also highlighted.
Councillor Robert Lawton, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We are committed to tackling the problems that residents have highlighted in their wards. It was very clear from feedback through the public consultation that local residents, partners and landlords wanted tougher action to be taken to tackle these issues. After investigating a range of options, including Additional Licensing for HMOs, the Council is now considering a combination of the options, including targeted enforcement action, a stronger landlord accreditation scheme and closer working with the police, university and the community to bring about the improvements called for.”
Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association, said: “The NLA welcomes Bournemouth Council’s proposals to work collaboratively with landlords, letting agents and the local community in order to improve standards.
“It is essential that Bournemouth Borough Council uses its existing powers to enforce standards wherever necessary, and does not hesitate to prosecute the criminals who exploit people in need of housing. Equally, landlords must show their professionalism by continuing to strive for high standards through landlord accreditation and continued professional development.
Bournemouth University and Arts University College joint statement:”Bournemouth University (BU) and the Arts University College at Bournemouth (AUCB) make a substantial economic and social contribution to the local area and many of our students are involved in voluntary and community work.
“However, we recognise that anti-social behaviour from a small minority of our students can impact substantially on the community. Over the past few years BU and AUCB have been working very closely with the council and police to try to tackle this and we already fund dedicated police officers and out of hours Environmental Health Office support.
“BU and AUCB recognise that there is more to be done and therefore we remain committed to our partnership work with local community services, wholeheartedly support this initiative and will continue to contribute to the funding of community initiatives.”
The dedicated officer for Winton would be part funded (£15,000) by Bournemouth University
Public consultation took place between 2 July and 7 October 2012.
There are 1,020 known HMOs in the three Winton wards.
A House in Multiple Occupation, (HMO) is a property which is occupied by three or more people forming two or more households, where facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms are normally shared. It may include bedsits, shared houses and some converted buildings containing flats