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Councillors put focus on 'raising standards' in HMOs

A study commissioned by Eastbourne Borough Council to provide an objective and informed look at the role of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and how they should operate in the future, has been welcomed by councillors.

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While the report recognises the valuable role played by HMOs, it also explored why they can also cause concern in communities, often as a result of higher concentrations of this type of housing being located in the same area.

Councillor Stephen Holt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said: "There is no doubt that HMOs are an important housing option in the town, especially for people on lower incomes or those working on a short-term contract. However, there is also evidence that in some locations they attract anti-social behaviour and the condition of properties can fall below acceptable standards."

The report also cites the loss of family homes when houses are converted into HMOs, sometimes bringing issues such as local parking problems and overflowing bins.

Councillors will now consider what interventions are appropriate to address the negative impacts of HMOs in Eastbourne.

Councillor Peter Diplock, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "Whether through new planning policy, a change in how permission is granted for HMOs or more robust licensing and enforcement, there are various options open to us.

"Whatever steps we take, we will be very careful to not adversely affect the positive role that HMOs play in the mix of available accommodation. 

"Our focus will be on raising standards inside and outside the premises, so the unwelcome issues the report highlights are tackled."

Published on March 22, 2024.

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