Council to decide on limits for shared homes in Lincoln

City of Lincoln councillors will decide on plans to give the authority more control over the location and density of houses in multiple occupation, such as shared student houses.

Members of the council’s executive will make a final decision on whether to implement the Article 4 direction at a meeting on January 25.

If implemented, the Article 4 direction would mean owners wishing to convert their property into a HMO would need planning permission from March 1 this year.

The move follows more than 12 months of evidence-gathering, including three public consultations, after members agreed in December 2014 to put limits in place after residents raised concerns over the impact of high densities of HMOs in certain areas.

Members have been asked to approve confirmation of a city-wide Article 4 direction with effect from March 1, to be reviewed after 12 months.

If agreed, planning applications for HMOs would be judged against criteria including that no more than 10% of properties within a 100 metre radius of the property should be HMOs.

More than 500 HMOs in Lincoln have been declared as part of the council’s evidence gathering to improve its knowledge of HMOs in the city.

John Latham, Director of Development and Environmental Services at City of Lincoln Council, said: “HMOs have a critical role to play in the housing market and a city-wide direction would ensure the council can manage future developments, ensuring they won’t lead to or increase existing over-concentrations of HMOs in certain parts of the city that could be considered harmful to local communities.

“The Article 4 direction would help make sure communities across the city remain balanced and attractive to a wide range of people. This direction would enable the council to consider the potential impact of an HMO on the character and appearance of an area, so each application can be decided on its own merits.

“We have taken great efforts over the last 12 months to consult widely and with those most likely to be affected by the introduction of an Article 4 direction and believe this recommendation to members is a reflection of those views.”

Landlords and property owners can continue to declare existing HMOs on the council’s website.