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Studentification, HMOs, Schools and House Prices by Lawrenson of Letting Focus

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Thought we could get through a month without some new proposal or regulation affecting landlords?
Well think again.
A few weeks ago now, a consultation document from the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG), came out which examined if it could be made necessary for landlords to have to get permission to convert a home into a House in Multiple Occupation.
HMOs are broadly defined as a residence for three or more unrelated occupiers.
At the moment, the regulation of houses of multiple occupation (HMO) in England and Wales only considers cases where there are at least six residents (unless HMO licensing has been extended locally to cover other smaller HMOs.)


The consultation came about because of concerns that the “studentification” of towns – high densities of student homes in residential areas – can cause anti-social behaviour, distort property prices and make for “ghost towns” during the long summer holidays.
The proposal has been condemned by landlords’ associations and this is one idea that I don’t think will fly.
After all, what would happen to all those people living in those HMOs right now? Would they be housed in private halls of residence at the taxpayer’s expense?
Cue deafening slence from the Government.
Having recently seen areas of Birmingham and Cardiff which are heavily populated by students, I would say that it would be good for landlords who own the more run down properties to occasionally find the time to give their properties a bit of an external makeover and clear away all the rubbish dumped in the front gardens by last year’s students.

Doing this would certainly make the non-student neighbours feel a lot better about the student housing in their midst.
If a landlord (or indeed any owner of any property whether commercial or residential) lets the front of his property become an isaw, it ought to be possible to strengthen the powers that councils have to force them to improve them.
After all, why should everyone have to suffer from having to look at properties that are run down?
Surely, a better way to do this would be for the government to look at extending their powers in this regard (perhaps one way would be to extend their existing powers to extend HMO licences to cover smaller HMOs.)

Schools and House Prices (and a Bit of Politics)
It has been a while since someone did a report on how being near to a good school affects house prices.
Yup, if you are in a duff area and wondering why the house prices are inexplicably high it’s probably due to the presence of a good school locally.
Right now in the Lawrenson house we are sharpening our minds (and elbows!) to think about our son’s schooling at secondary level.
The options are ….
1. We send him to an OK but “bog standard” local comp (or whatever they are called now -academies, science college etc) here in London. He gets some duff A levels but enough to get on to study for a degree in Pointless Studies at The University Of New Town in Godknowswheresville.
2. We spend loads of dosh and go private (against my old political principles).
3. We move out to rural Kent where all our neighbours will probably be Tories but where they still have half decent schools and you have more than a cat in hells chance of getting into one (Though even out in Kent you need those middle class elbows to push ahead of other parents by paying for extra tuition to be sure of getting in the good local grammar.)
Tough choice! And what a shame we should have to make it as I rather like cosmopolitan London.
When I was at school (a Grammar since you ask) lots of the lads at our school were from pretty poor backgrounds from a local mining area.
But these days Grammars (where they exist) and other good schools have very few kids on free school meals. Sadly, the chance of getting an above average education seems to have moved futher away than ever from poorer parents here in London and other big UK cities.
What a failure of education policy over the years - Tory and Labour.
If any Government can make the schools better here in the middle of London and other big cities, families may stay here. Of course, that would push up house prices into the stratosphere which won’t be so good so everyone.
Until that time I expect the great exodus of the families to the rural shires to continue.
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We are LettingFocus.com - the property experts.
I’m, David Lawrenson, the author of “Successful Property Letting” which for the last 3 years has been the UK’s top selling property book.
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