Hounslow Council crack down on landlords with houses in multiple occupancy

Image above: Houses in multiple occupancy in Chiswick – noticeable from the number of wheelie-bins there are outside; photograph Nigel Mykura

Full planning permission now required for shared houses

Hounslow Council has made permanent tighter regulations on converting properties in the borough into Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), after a year-long pilot and consultation with residents.

The pilot scheme required planning permission to be obtained by anyone wishing to convert a family home into housijng with multiple occupancy for three to six tenants.

An HMO involves the separation of a house into separate sleeping areas often with shared areas for cooking and cleaning.

The change in regulation was enabled through and ‘Article 4 Direction’ in July 2022 after an increasing number of complaints from residents across the borough about noise, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour from HMOs.

At a Cabinet meeting on 11 July, it was decided to make this regulation permanent.

The Council also says the new HMO Licensing Policy includes more thorough checks on landlords.

Many HMOs are having a “detrimental impact on the local community”

Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, said:

“I would like to stress that for many residents in our borough HMOs is an affordable housing option, which is low-cost and flexible.

“However, is it clear that many HMOs are having detrimental impact on the local community and this measure becoming permanent will ensure thorough oversight – protecting both the tenants in HMOs and the communities that surround them.”

Councillor Sue Sampson, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Homelessness at Hounslow Council said:

“Consultation and resident feedback played an important role in shaping this decision and is part of the Council’s wider radical overhaul of how we engage with residents across Hounslow.

“Every resident in the borough deserves to live in a safe and vibrant community and this new measure is a stepping stone to achieving this goal.”