Consultation reveals concerns over HMOs in area
DISREPAIR and anti-social behaviour are some of the main concerns Rhondda Cynon Taff residents have with houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
The findings come from a consultation which took place between August and September looking into how HMO licensing is working in RCT which has seen regulation for 16 years through mandatory licensing and additional licensing schemes.
In total 146 people responded to the consultation, with the majority of these being from the Treforest area.
More than half of respondents were homeowners, while 26% were tenants and 14% were landlords.
Just under half identified anti-social behaviour as the main cause for concern related to HMOs, with a quarter saying it was disrepair.
During the consultation, comments made by landlords suggested HMO licensing was an unnecessary tax on their properties and showed they have concerns that the scheme only captures “good landlords” while others go unregulated.
They also say licensing is the wrong approach and unbalances the housing market, thus driving property prices up.
Comments from students and tenants focused on their desire to see increased controls, especially in relation to the appearance of HMOs and the desire for higherquality HMOs with a focus on poor landlords.
Homeowners mentioned refuse problems, the need to do more to make landlords and tenants look after properties, the problem of absent landlords, pressure on parking in Treforest, unsavoury tenants and antisocial behaviour, the fact that there are too many HMOs and not enough affordable housing, and the need to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords.
There are currently 633 licensed HMOs in RCT, although the potential number is higher at around 688 due to vacancies and under-occupation.
Almost all (97%) of properties subject to an application for a HMO licence were found to be non-compliant with the legal requirements and inspections undertaken after a licence was granted show that only 40% of these maintained those legal standards, resulting in enforcement action over issues such as fire precautions, poor external appearance, damp and disrepair.
A total of 796 significant hazards have been removed from 346 licensed HMOs as a direct result of the licensing regime.
A report set to come before Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee says: “HMOs are a necessary housing option and form an important part of the housing market of RCT.
“The evaluation of the 2014 Additional Licensing Scheme shows the positive impact that the licensing regime has had on HMO standards.
“However, there is clear evidence of the need for ongoing regulation of the sector to protect tenants from poor housing standards and to protect communities from the adverse impact of poorly managed HMOs.”