Labour has today launched a bid to protect local neighbourhoods, fighting government planning changes which will allow bad landlords to take residential communities and fill them with temporary bedsits.
In opposition to these plans Lilian Greenwood, MP for Nottingham South has today signed two motions in the House of Commons calling on Housing Minister Grant Shapps not to repeal changes to the planning legislation requiring all Houses in Multiple Occupation to have planning permission. The changes, which would otherwise have passed unopposed, will now be debated.
Under changes to the law brought in by the Labour Government in January, local authorities were given new powers to make private landlords converting family homes into shared houses apply for planning permission. The new Housing Minister last week laid down new regulations, which if they remain unchallenged, will mean the repeal of this legislation.
Two Early Day Motions laid down by Harriet Harman MP, Leader of the Opposition, and Shadow Housing Minister John Healey call on the Government to annul the new regulations.
John Healey MP, Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning, said:
“We want to protect local neighbourhoods by stopping government planning changes which are a green light for bad landlords to take over good family homes and turn them into temporary bedsits.
“The Government’s plans will tie the hands of councils preventing them from controlling the spread of bedsit barons.”
Lilian Greenwood MP commented after signing the motions:
“I am deeply concerned that the Coalition’s plans will have serious consequences for Nottingham South, making it more difficult for communities across our city to resist the tide of HMOs.”
“By repealing Labour’s legislation, the Housing Minister has served a cruel blow to areas like Dunkirk and Lenton - where HMOs have already irrevocably changed the population, forcing one primary school to close and causing local shops to disappear. This is a kick in the teeth for local people like the Nottingham Action Group who campaigned for the extra powers Labour introduced”.
“This government’s decision to repeal protection for communities and tenants will also put over 16,000 people in Nottingham South, who live in private rented accommodation, at risk from unscrupulous and absentee landlords.”
Dr Richard Tyler, Coordinator of the National HMO Lobby, which represents Residents’ Associations across the UK welcomed the EDM, saying:
“The National HMO Lobby received assurances from the Government prior to the election that the legislation would remain intact, and we are deeply concerned at the effect new proposals will have on communities.
“Un-managed concentrations of HMOs de-stabilise local communities, and make it even harder to address the problems they cause for residents and tenants alike. I am pleased that Lilian is taking action on this issue.”
The Government’s attempt to repeal new planning legislation follows hard on the heels of their decision in June to scrap the National Register of Landlords, which allowed tenants to make basic checks on prospective landlords and local authorities to better enforce lettings rules, the legal requirement for a written tenancy agreement, and the regulation of letting and management agents. All of these pieces of legislation were brought in earlier this year by the Labour Government to protect tenants and communities from rogue landlords.