This new draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) includes guidance on two main areas concerning houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), or shared rental houses and flats.
The number and location of HMOs within Bath
We are updating how we measure the number and location of HMOs in an area, and this will have an impact on whether we grant permission for more HMOs to be created. This is to help us to ensure that there is a balanced mix of housing in Bath that meets the needs of all residents, and that HMOs don't affect the character or heritage value of any parts of the city.
We propose maintaining the threshold for the concentration of HMOs in any area within Bath at 10%, but are updating and extending our policies around assessing HMO concentration, and its potential impact on neighbouring properties.
The quality of accommodation
The SPD has added guidance which aims to ensure that new HMOs provide a good standard of accommodation. This should have a positive impact on the quality, upkeep and sustainability of HMO properties.
We are setting the following standards for accommodation quality:
- Making sure accommodation is moderately energy efficient, (EPC value C or above), where this is achievable and does not harm the heritage value of the building
- Setting minimum size standards for bedrooms and communal living areas which should help to avoid overcrowding
- Guidance to reduce the impacts of noise, such as recommendations for construction materials and fittings, or how rooms are located in relation to each other
- Standards to ensure that HMO accommodation is well ventilated, which should protect its structural integrity, as well as the health of occupants