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Tighter Rules for New HMOs Go to Public Consultation

Efforts to tighten the rules on new HMOs have taken a step forward with the release by Bristol City Council of a Supplementary Planning Document which will now go to public consultation.

Further details, including the document itself, can be found on the council's consultations page. The deadline for submitting views is Friday, March 20.

The proposals will give planners two crucial rules with which to reject applications for new or expanded HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation) that would create a "harmful concentration" of such shared housing:

  • No sandwiching—applications will be rejected if they would result in a house that isn't an HMO being flanked on either side by houses that are.

  • A 10% limit—applications will be refused if the result would be that more than 10% of houses within a 100-metre radius of the application property were licensed HMOs. Purpose-built student accommodation will be included in the definition of HMOs.

Councillors Clive Stevens (Clifton Down) and Anthony Negus (Cotham) have said they hope to hold a public meeting soon to discuss the proposals.

The rules are significant because the University of Bristol plans to bring thousands more students into the city over the next few years. Although most will be housed in purpose-built accommodation, residents fear there will be further pressure to create new HMOs, or expand existing ones, in areas that already have large numbers of students. Residents in these areas frequently complain about noise and waste-disposal problems.

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