Wycombe has some nice houses. From Victorian terraces to 1930’s semi detached properties nearly every type of home can be found in the town.
However most of the neighbourhoods were created at a time when cars were luxury items owned by the wealthy and well to do. The modern day problem of parking never existed in the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s.
Sadly these days roads that should be clear are now blocked with vehicles even if the houses do have driveways or have had their gardens converted into off street parking.
If you are unfortunate enough to live in an area blighted by houses of multiple occupancy with perhaps have six or more vehicles associated with them the parking can become a real problem.
As far as I’m concerned houses of multiple occupancy (HMO’s) have caused more problems in the town than they are worth.
If there weren’t so many HMO’s there would be more houses available to buy for the families looking for a home of their own and the general price of houses would be lower due to a surplus of properties on the market.
The whole circus of regulation around HMO’s is, in my opinion and as far as my research shows, laughable. Being a landlord brings with it certain responsibilities one of which is checking that the tenants the property is being let to have a right to be in the country. Please correct me if I am wrong but amazingly there is no compulsion or ability for tenants to make sure that the landlord has the right to be in the country.
So there we are, landlords can be in the UK illegally and make money letting houses to legal tenants whose right to be in the UK is checked and scrutinised to kingdom come.
If my good self was in control I would bring in the following measures to crack down on HMO’s such as :
- Requiring landlords to obtain a licence (from the local authority) before they can let a house similar to the licence that a taxi driver has to obtain before being allowed to pick up passengers.
- The creation of a publicly searchable on-line register of all houses that have one of more rooms let to tenants.
- Before a house can be let planning permission should be obtained to facilitate the conversion of use to a HMO, that way issues like parking, refuse and public nuisance could be addressed and neighbours could have a say and object if letting the house is likely to cause problems.
- The planning permission (see point above) would only be for a set time, say two years, that way when re-applying neighbours could have a say if problems have arisen since the house was last licensed to be let.
- Landlords with a HMO should pay commercial rates for waste disposal rather than using the same refuse collection service funded by the Council Tax paid by home owners like my good self.
The problem of HMO’s is one that is ruining the neighbourhoods of Wycombe.
Something needs to be done fast so the families of the town are not blighted by fly-by-night landlords who are just looking to make a quick buck from a house with complete disregard to the decent and law abiding neighbours living near by.
What do you think?
*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.