Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Storer and Ashby Residents’ Group


Our residents’ group SARG represents residents in the Loughborough suburbs of Storer and Burleigh. The residents’ group was set up 14 years ago to counter the negative effects on the community due to the large landlord owned houses rented to students, now defined as “studentification”. The two suburbs are immediately adjacent to Loughborough University and has some 60% HiMOs with students outnumbering residents by some three to one, a highly imbalanced community. We suffer from all the ASB problems associated with high HiMO density, mainly students in our area. Our community become hugely imbalanced towards HiMOs with a large number of residents retreating away from the students as they could only see it getting worse. In this process we have lost our post office, junior school, church, corner shops, pharmacy and many other facilities common in balanced communities.

The campaigning locally and nationally over some ten years brought in changes to the definitions of UCO and HiMO. However, in the two years between the last Government introducing changes and the present government removing key aspects we suffered another 20% loss of family homes going over the landlord owned HiMOs. To counter this problem, Charnwood Borough Council has successfully introduced Article 4 Direction for HiMOs and a SPD for student housing.

We work closely with the University, Council, Students Union and Police to tackle the problems associated with a neighbourhood such as ours. Although successful, the work goes no way to solving the problems in our unbalanced community. Further control on HiMOs is essential.

We are a member of the National HMO lobby and fully support their much more detailed reply to the consultation and have therefore not further repeated obvious knowledge.

Recommendations for HiMOs

We strongly support the introduction of difference definition for UCOs, in particular the C3 and C4 definition. These must be retained.

Studentification must be a central concern in any national planning of policy on HiMOs and the rented sector. Loughborough has some 20% of the population as students, heavily concentrated in a number of suburbs including Storer and Burleigh.

Mandatory registration and inspection of all HiMOs by the local council and the charges to be such as to be self-financing. This would help remove the difference between C4 HiMOs and sui generis.

Local planning authorities be advised and guided to adopt policies limiting HiMO development to not more that 10% of a neighbourhood.

Increase the age of unrelated tenants to perhaps 30 years old.

All landlords should pay business tax.

All properties especially HiMOs should pay council tax—it is a nonsense that landlords can own a property and rent it out without paying anything for the Council. Although seen as a subsidy for students, it is in fact a subsidy for landlords as the rents are adjusted accordingly.

Allow councils to impose parking limits on occupants of HiMOs. This would help relieve a major problem of streets clogged with parked student cars and large increases of traffic.

There is a strong case for greater security of tenure in the PRS, as increasing numbers of individuals and families come to rely on renting, rather than home-ownership. This would help families who need to rent in increasing numbers rather than short term tenants who have no stake in the community.

Prompt action by LAs to identify empty HiMOs and make good use of them with perhaps a compulsory order to be able to be used as Social Housing.

Every HEI should adopt a housing strategy designed to minimise its students’ impact on local housing supply.

January 2013

Prepared 16th July 2013