Speaking in the Welsh Assembly today, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black pressed the Minister for Housing and Regeneration to give local councils the power to better control the spread of houses in multiple occupation in residential areas.
Mr. Black was responding to complaints that many communities are suffering social problems, parking chaos, rubbish and noise pollution due to poor planning laws and burdensome enforcement. In particular the growth of HMOs is largely unplanned and in most cases do not require planning permission.
"At the moment, any prospective landlord can avoid getting planning permission on a HMO in Wales providing less than 8 people live in it," said Mr. Black. "There is no control in place to safeguard balance in communities. Reducing that trigger to 5 or 6 and forcing owners to apply for planning permission would enable local councils to set out planning policies that would control the proportion of properties in a community set up as HMOs.
"I am pleased that the Minister has said that he will review this requirement as part of the forthcoming planning bill. It is important that we get the balance right in local communities so as to reduce nuisance and ensure that they remain sustainable."