Medway Council had a 49% rise in HMO applications in the last year and ALL of them were approved

I’d like to start this post with a good news story of an incredible guy who has overcome a killer illness, Nigel French. Nigel is one of my landlords and I felt compelled to share his story because it really is so incredible. In 2015 Nigel was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour called a glioblastoma. The odds were low – very low – and Nigel started to prepare for the worst. But then he was offered some cutting edge treatment known as DCVax® – L, which used some of his own immune cells to fight the tumour. The results were miraculous and three and a half years later, he is raising money for the Brain Tumor Charity by running the Barcelona Marathon in March. Nigel is a stand-up guy and an inspiration to any cancer sufferer. Good luck with the run Nigel.

It puts me to shame really as the only running I’ve been doing is between properties and meetings. While catching up on emails between all the meetings, there was  one in particular that made for some very interesting reading.

A few weeks back I posted about the inordinate amount of HMO (homes of multiple occupation) licenses being approved by councils, particularly when compared with a very serious lack of monitoring of the HMO regulations that are designed to ensure the quality of this type of accommodation. If you don’t recall, Landlord Today had published that of 90 local authorities asked, 72% had absolutely no idea how many landlords are in breach of HMO licensing rules. You can read the full article here. It caused me to wonder about the specifics of Medway, so I raised a freedom of information request with the Council. Here are the headlines:

  • 40 HMO licence applications were made to the Medway Council in 2018.
  • 40 HMO licence applications were approved by Medway Council in 2018.
  • NO landlords that have broken HMO licensing law in the past 12 months.
  • NO prosecution were made for not meeting HMO licensing regulations in 2018.

Let’s just digest that. Forty new HMO applications in one year and forty approved. Plus absolutely no breaches of the HMO licensing laws. 100% approval and 100% compliance. Wow, what conscientious and diligent landlords we have in Medway…

I think what is more likely what is happening is that the good landlords (all 40 of them) have complied with the new legislation but the rest are ignoring or unaware of the rules.

I’ve requested a further breakdown of the data as my HMO specialist management company Home-Share have a vested interest in the locality and volume of HMOs. The laws that outline the terms of the licenses are designed to protect tenants and make sure the properties are safe and suitable for multiple occupation. My company go one step further than that by ensuring our tenants superb quality homes. Just this week we stopped working with a landlord because we were not prepared to let substandard accommodation.

HMOs have a big place in the property market moving forward. We are in the midst of a housing stock crisis and they offer a fantastic solution but that doesn’t mean that they should be shoddy lets and unfortunately, house shares do have a certain stigma to them. We are breaking through all those misconceptions with the standard of our HMOs.

I’ll admit that I’m looking forward to receiving this next set of data from Medway Council. It will be interesting to see if the locations they have for HMOs racks up against my local knowledge of house shares in Medway. Watch this space…

If you have any questions about HMOs or are thinking or either investing or converting a property into one, my advice is free. Despite the council’s stats, model landlords are still very much needed. So I’m happy to help anyone looking to start out in the HMO market. Email me at hasan@home-share.co.uk or call on 07944 726676.

Hasan

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