A pressure group representing local landlords claim moves by the local council to halt the spread of shared student properties in Bath is going to push up rents as well as cutting house prices.
The members of the Landlords’ Association are warning Bath and North East Somerset Council to cancel using the planning system to discourage converting family homes into student accommodation. However, politicians for the area where student accommodation dominates a large number of streets think the landlords association are just being alarmist.
Council officials are looking at whether it will be of benefit to the area to use planning legislation to make it harder to convert a property for what is an expanding university population. Councillors from both the coalition parties have backed the idea of investigating the use of Article 4 Direction. Implementation of this would mean landlords with landlord insurance will need to apply for planning permission for any conversion, even in houses where there is only between three and six tenants who are not related.
The Chairman of the Association, Alan Ward, said “Actions by the council to restrict the availability of much-needed housing for mainly young people will not only deny them the chance to live where they want, but will also drive up rents whilst at the same time significantly cutting house prices in the designated area. Experience elsewhere clearly demonstrates that where a house is no longer able to be used flexibly as a family property or a small HMO, its value faces falling by up to a third. Many owners will be worried at such a steep drop in the value of their single biggest asset.”
The association feel local authorities need to work with tenants, student unions, landlords and the police to educate tenants on being responsible in the community. But the local council argue they already do this via the Student Community Partnership.