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Public urged to take part in HMO survey

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Public urged to take part in HMO survey

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing, Regulation

Public urged to take part in HMO survey Public urged to take part in HMO survey

It's probably not its most exciting hour but Exeter City Council is eager to find out what its residents think about houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The local authority plans to broaden its licensing to cover rented properties in buildings which have been poorly converted into self-contained flats or flats in multiple occupation above shops and businesses.

Landlords, tenants, partnership agencies and the general public are being encouraged to complete a short questionnaire on the council's website.

The council says that the move to broaden licensing would allow it to maintain stricter controls on those properties currently not covered by the licensing regime.

Cllr Rob Hannaford, lead councillor for housing and customer access, said: "A significant proportion of these HMOs are posing an increased risk to the often unsuspecting tenants who live there, in terms of fire safety. They are frequently associated with poor management and anti-social behaviour.

"Introducing additional licensing would assist us in tackling these problems and further the Council's objectives of improving standards in the private reneted sector."

There are estimated to be around 2,500 HMOs in Exeter, 700 of which are covered by the mandatory licensing scheme introduced nationally in 2006.

The new regime would expect to cover around 400 HMOs.

The HMOs being targeted by the new proposals generate a high number of complaints - over 30% of the total number received - from residents, often around fly-tipping and poorly presented refuse.

They are also often at the centre of complaints around noise nuisance and low-level anti-social behaviour.

Under the Housing Act, the council would be able to extend its powers to cover the additional HMOs - if it can prove that a significant proportion are being poorly managed.

"This is not about being over draconian or bureaucratic - this is about ensuring the safety of the people of Exeter and making sure that they have a suitable place to live," said Cllr Hannaford. "We would like as many people as possible to take part in the survey."

The gripping poll will run all summer.

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