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Tougher regulation needed for shared houses

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Tenants of houses in multiple occupations (HMO) need better protection against rogue landlords who provide sub-standard homes.

Conservative MP Ian Levy said that current regulations do not go far enough to protect vulnerable tenants of local communities where two adults live in a space which is “no bigger than a garden shed.”

Introducing his Houses in Multiple Occupation Bill, he told the Commons: “The very nature of the accommodation provided by houses in multiple occupations (HMOs) often means that those who have fallen upon hard times or are suffering from mental health issues, drug or alcohol abuse or, in a lot of cases, as reported to me by the police, domestic abuse.

“These are vulnerable people who we have a duty to safeguard. Allowing HMOs to exist by disguising them as hostels, hotels and bed and breakfasts not only denies the tenant the security of tenure but also means that the accommodation doesn’t face the true scrutiny that it should.”

He added, “I believe it is vital that a stricter regime of checks and measures is imposed upon landlords to make sure the safeguarding of clients is kept at the forefront.”

HMO’s can be a breeding ground for disease and coronavirus as multiple tenants are using one bathroom and the kitchen in the same house or flat.

The Tory MP said that he wants to see greater powers for councils to be able to deal the governance and development of HMOs.

Levy added that large HOM’s will need to “to provide a nominated person to be responsible for the residents living there on a 24/7 basis.

“This would allow a point of contact for the authorities and for the local community to highlight the issues and where possible address them in a way that safeguards both the individuals and the local community.”




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