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SOUTHAMPTON is expected to see more than 10,000 HMO licensed homes in the city by 2023, after civic chiefs gave the go-ahead to extend the scheme by another five years.

Since its inception in 2013, the legislation, which covers homes in Bevois, Bargate, Portswood, and Swaythling wards, has resulted in 4,800 licences being issued.

Now, the authority estimates up to 5,500 more homes will require licensing over the next five years.

Council leaders have branded the HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) legislation, which allows three or more occupants from different families to live together, “much needed” and a “huge success”.

Student houses are one of the main users of the licence.

The council also says the scheme has dealt with issues of poor property conditions, bad management and anti-social behaviour.

Steven Hayes-Arter, HMO licensing manager at the council, said: “This ensures safe, good quality private rented accommodation is available to meet housing needs in the city.

“The scheme has enabled that concerns and complaints about conditions and the impact of the property on the local community can be addressed effectively and promptly, such as noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

“The numbers of complaints about HMOs have fallen since the additional scheme was introduced in 2013.”

When it was first proposed in 2013, the plans were hit with heavy resistance from opposition councillors.

But civic chiefs pushed them through regardless, which they say was the “right thing to do”.

Former housing chief at the council, Councillor Warwick Payne, said: “At the time, it seemed quite a radical idea. Now it is seen as the norm.

“We had resistance to it in 2013, but this time around we have seen much less, which shows that it has been successful.”

Council leader Chris Hammond added: “Despite changes to the way HMOs are regarded, this is still needed in these areas.

“The impact it has had on these neighbourhoods has helped our communities for the better.”

It is estimated that there are between 6000-7000 HMOs in the city but not all HMOs require licensing.

Source: Daily Mail

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