Shared homes problems addressed by Bournemouth council

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A Dorset council has voted to introduce stricter rules in tackling problems associated with houses of multiple-occupancy.

The plans for Bournemouth include bringing in a designated enforcement officer for the wider Winton area and more stringent checks on landlords.

Residents had raised concerns over poorly-kept properties, anti-social behaviour and untidy gardens.

Councillors approved the plans on Tuesday.

Houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) usually have three or more people, often students or young people, sharing facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms.

There are 1,020 known HMOs in Winton, Wallisdown, Charminster and Queens Park, the council said.

Residents who responded to a public consultation in the summer also complained about noise, untidy rubbish bins and letting boards.

University funding

They said they wanted tougher action to be taken against landlords who did not maintain or properly manage their properties.

Councillor Robert Lawton, cabinet member for housing, said a range of options had been considered and the council was working with police and local universities.

The dedicated officer would be part-funded by Bournemouth University.

In a joint statement, Bournemouth University (BU) and Arts University College (AUCB) said many students "make a substantial economic and social contribution to the local area".

"However, we recognise that anti-social behaviour from a small minority of our students can impact substantially on the community.

"Over the past few years BU and AUCB have been working very closely with the council and police to try to tackle this.

"We already fund dedicated police officers and out-of-hours environmental health office support."

Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association, said: "It is essential that Bournemouth Borough Council uses its existing powers to enforce standards wherever necessary, and does not hesitate to prosecute the criminals who exploit people in need of housing."

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