Exeter is considering extending its Article 4 direction to help manage the impact of the city’s student population.
The current Article 4 – restricting landlords’ rights to convert properties into HMOs – is in an area close to the University of Exeter’s Streatham and St Luke’s campuses.
The council hopes to enlarge this to include postcodes where student-only homes make up more than 20% of housing, or which are expected to exceed that threshold.
It would also include the university’s Streatham Campus and areas of purpose-built student accommodation bordering the affected postcodes.
It would not change exempt areas as it says this would cause severe personal hardship to homeowners, on the grounds that these streets already have a very high concentration of student properties.
New areas The exempt areas are: Culverland Road, Danes Road, Edgerton Park Road, Hillsborough Avenue, Mowbray Avenue, Old Park Road, Springfield Road, Victoria Street and Wrentham Estate.
The authority says the changes would help to maintain a balance between student and non-student housing in the area and wouldn’t unduly restrict HMOs for non-student residents, such as lower income households and households with specialist requirements.
Exeter Council admits that one drawback is a possible increase in private rents, due to further restrictions on HMO supply.
It adds that since 2010, changes in the number of HMOs have been relatively limited and that the university expects future growth in student numbers to be slower, resulting in less demand for HMOs, although the council is not convinced this will be the case.
It is looking for feedback on four possible options in the consultation which runs until 3rd July.
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