Petition calling on council to limit number of HMOs in Rugby gathers pace

A petition calling on Rugby council to limit the number of HMOs in the town centre has gathered almost 300 signatures.

Many residents raised concerns over HMOs with John (pictured) while he was out speaking to potential voters.
Many residents raised concerns over HMOs with John (pictured) while he was out speaking to potential voters.

John Slinger, Labour candidate for New Bilton, started the petition after scores of residents brought up their concerns over HMOs as he knocked on doors in recent weeks.

Concerns over parking, littering, fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour, crime, noise and the effect on the community have been raised with John, prompting him to call on the council to take action.

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In the petition, he writes that he will be calling on the council to Article 4 Direction under the Planning Acts to require planning permission for all future conversions from houses to HMOs, and that such conversions will no longer be regarded as a permitted use.

John spoke with the Advertiser earlier this afternoon to explain the reasoning behind the petition.

He said: "Other places like Warwick District have been able to use Article 4 powers to limit the number of HMOs and that could be used here.

"My view is that more can be done but more isn’t being done.

"People in the New Bilton ward and the Benn ward are suffering because of this.

"I have absolutely nothing against the tenants of HMOs, but there is a limit to how many you can have in a small area.

"When you’ve got a three bedroom house, designed to accommodate two adults and a few children, and you convert that into a five to seven bedroomed HMO, you’re putting a lot of strain on the area.

"Many of these people will also have a partner and they’ll want to be living together – so from those five to seven bedrooms, you’re potentially looking at a small house that’s now accommodating 10 or 14 people.

"Again, I have nothing against the tenants, but they are likely to be young and transient, so they are not likely to be very invested in the community.

"There are also issues with parking, noise and anti-social behaviour – which is to be expected when you pack so many young people into a tiny area.

"The problem is that there are developers and firms that are very knowledgeable – for example they know that they can avoid planning concerns over parking by saying they’ve fitted bike racks in the gardens.

"We know many of these tenants use cars – so it’s not solving the problem.

"There’s a huge income to be made from HMOs, so landlords – many of them we believe are not from the area, or even the country – will put in higher bids, leaving young couples looking for a family home gazumped.

"This is breaking the community down, and it’s a symptom of a broken market.

"The solution here would be to make sure there’s enough social and affordable housing in the town so that people don’t need to live in HMOs – but the problem is being left to the market to fix – and the market often doesn’t care about the community.”You can view the petition by visiting: bit.ly/3MtyWox