Homes in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Homes in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Development Plan Document

4. HMOs in Coventry - Issues

4.1 Whilst the city's stock of HMOs is contributing to meeting local housing needs, increased numbers of multiple occupancy properties have the potential to create negative impacts. Concentrations within neighbourhoods can lead to imbalanced and unsustainable communities and can damage the residential amenity and character of surrounding areas. Harmful impacts associated with high numbers of HMOs can affect a community's health and wellbeing. Over many years across Coventry, many issues have been reported to the Council regarding the increasing numbers and concentrations of HMOs, We believe these include, but are not limited to:

  • Reduced social cohesion resulting from the short-term nature of residencies involved with HMOs which may involve younger people overall. demographic imbalance.
  • Reduced housing choice resulting from housing type/tenure imbalance (e.g. a shift from permanent family housing to more transient accommodation);
  • Reduced community engagement from residents resulting from an increase in the transient population of an area;
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from intensification of the residential use and/or the constantly changing nature of households;
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy resulting from poorly considered internal layouts and intensification of use;
  • Detriment to visual amenity resulting from poor waste management, poor property maintenance, accumulative external alterations to properties and use of frontage areas for off-street parking;
  • Reduced community services resulting from a shift in the retail/business offer towards a narrower demographic such as the proliferation of Hot Food Takeaways; and
  • Highway safety concerns resulting from congested on-street parking and poor waste management.
Question 1: Do you believe these issues are representative of your experiences and are there other issues we need to be aware of?

4.2 A number of wards across the city have high proportions of HMOs housing a range of different groups. Non-student HMOs are generally clustered across wards in Sherbourne, Whoberley and Upper/Lower Stoke. Some communities in these areas have expressed concern over increasing numbers of HMOs and the potential for damaging impacts should numbers continue to increase without appropriate planning interventions.

4.3 The level of student population in the city is also a factor affecting the amount and distribution of HMOs. A number of residential areas have high student populations living in this form of accommodation. These areas directly surround or are accessible to the city's two universities. The issues identified above have become intensified in these locations due to high HMO numbers. Significant concentrations in particular streets and neighbourhoods have had negative impacts on local communities.

Key Issues in Coventry

4.4 From the evidence gathered to date, we consider there are three key strategic issues that have emerged in Coventry and are explained below.

Key Issue 1: Concentrations

4.5 This is where issues associated with HMOs (see points above) cumulatively result in detrimental effects on the qualities and characteristics of a residential area. These qualities and characteristics are defined as generally quieter surroundings, a reasonable level of safe, accessible and convenient vehicular parking, a well-maintained or visually attractive environment and the preservation of buildings and structures that contribute to the character of a locality. It is also where the choice of housing available no longer provides for the needs of different groups within the community.

Key Issue 2: Sandwiching (street level)

4.5 A harmful concentration can arise at a localised level when an existing dwelling is sandwiched between two HMOs. This can intensify impacts on individual households even if few HMOs exist locally and can create an imbalance between HMOs and other housing at a street level.

4.6 Potential sandwiching situations can include:

  • Up to three single residential properties in a street located between two single HMO properties;
  • Single HMO properties in any two of the following locations: adjacent, opposite and to the rear of a single residential property;
  • A residential flat within a sub-divided building where the majority of flats are HMOs.
  • A residential flat within a sub-divided building in a street located between two other sub-divided buildings with at least one HMO flat in each building;
  • A residential flat within a sub-divided building located between two HMO flats above and below;
  • A residential flat within a sub-divided building located between two HMO flats on both sides.

4.7 Variations of these sandwiching situations may also occur. Sandwiching situations apply irrespective of limited breaks in building line, such as a vehicular or pedestrian access, apart from a separating road.

Key Issue 3: HMO Thresholds (ward level)

4.8 In analysing appropriate thresholds through other Local Planning Authorities, it is clear that proposals for the introduction of new HMOs which would result in more than 10% of the total dwelling stock being occupied as HMOs within a 100 metre radius of the centre point of the application property is considered an appropriate level before HMO thresholds give rise to the issues outlined above.

4.9 Similarly, proposals for additional bed spaces within an existing HMO where 10% or more of the total dwelling stock is occupied as HMOs within a 100 metre radius of the centre point of the application property could also be considered an appropriate level. The 100 metre radius is given to represent the immediate neighbourhood and is measured from a centre point within the centre point of the application property as defined by the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG). Dwellings on the edge of the 100 metre radius can only be included if the centre point, as defined by LLPG, falls within the radius. When considering applications, the Council's Development Management service will calculate the proportion of dwellings that are occupied as HMOs within any given 100 metre radius of the centre point of the application property when validating and determining such applications - please refer to Para 6.3 for further detail.