Action on HMOs in holiday heartland

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A scheme to tackle unruly behaviour from people living in HMOs is set to be rolled out into Blackpool’s holiday heartland.

The council’s selective licensing scheme, which requires landlords to manage their tenants more effectively, has already helped tackle anti-social behaviour in South Shore and Claremont.

Now consultation has begun on proposals to extend the scheme to the town centre.

Hoteliers in streets off Central Drive have raised concerns for a number of years about the detrimental impact HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) have had on the holiday trade.

There are 954 HMOs in the proposed new selective licensing scheme, many the result of conversions from former hotels.

Charlie Docherty, chairman of Central Holiday Area Police and Community Together (PACT), said: “There are huge problems in this area due to the number of HMOs and the impact of unruly tenants.

“Hoteliers have been fed up for a long time about the impact on their trade.

“Recently there have been windows smashed at one HMO.

“We’re also worried about properties being used as bail hostels.

“So we are in favour of this scheme coming to our area and we hope it will make a difference.”

It is proposed to extend the scheme from early 2016 to an area stretching from around Blackpool Football Club at the south end, through the central Gateway area bordered by Seasiders Way and Central Drive, encompassing the town centre all the way to Talbot Road at the north end. The area will stretch inland as far as Devonshire Road.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Selective Licensing has been nationally recognised as having had an enormous impact in Blackpool in helping us to raise housing standards, identify and solve problems in the community and, ultimately, tackle anti-social behaviour.

“As such, we want to continue that good work by rolling out the scheme to the town centre.”

Selective Licensing requires that all privately-rented properties in the area have a licence and that landlords show they manage their properties effectively, taking responsibility for tenants’ behaviour.