Lincoln residents split over controversial shared homes legislation

City of Lincoln Council’s Executive will meet this evening (June 15) to discuss the next steps in controlling the number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the city.

A four-week consultation was held in March after the council approved plans in December 2014 to pursue the implementation of Article 4.

Of those who took part in the consultation, 133 were in favour of the Article 4 direction, with 130 against the legislation.

Article 4 would mean homeowners and property developers would need planning permission to convert a house into an HMO, giving the council more control over the amount and location of such properties.

A demand in housing caused by the expansion of both of the city’s universities has led to a growing number of HMOs in Lincoln.

Approximately 2,000 of the city’s 46,000 properties are HMOs.

John Latham, Director of Development and Environmental Services at the city council, said: “These responses show there is a clear difference of opinion and there is no general consensus either for or against the direction. We’re grateful to everyone who took part and the matters raised during the consultation will be taken into account when a decision is made.

“The recent consultation was one element of a much larger project to establish whether there is a robust case to implement Article 4 in Lincoln and to develop an accreditation scheme. Together, these would enable the council to better control the number and location of HMOs in the city, and to help to improve the condition and quality of housing.

“The final decision will also be informed by a wider evidence-gathering process and the preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document, which will set out the criteria used to determine planning applications.

“We would urge landlords to help shape an accreditation scheme that benefits both tenants and themselves by taking the questionnaire on our website.”

A decision on whether to confirm the direction will be made in December this year.

If agreed, the Article 4 direction will come into force on March 1, 2016.