LIB DEMS CALL ON NEWCASTLE LABOUR MPS TO BACK EARLY DAY MOTION ON STUDENT RENTED HOUSING

March 31, 2009 1:10 AM

A senior Newcastle Liberal Democrat has challenged Labour MPs in the city to support a Parliamentary motion calling on the Government to introduce new laws to crack down on student rented housing.

Birmingham Lib Dem MP John Hemming has introduced early Day Motion 836 in the House of Commons.

It would require landlords to received planning permission for the change of use of houses into "houses of multiple occupation" - multi-tenanted rented properties, including student housing and hostels.

The motion has already attracted cross party support from Lib Dems, Labour, Conservative and Democratic Unionist MPs, including Sunderland North MP Bill Etherington who represents the constituency including Sunderland University.

Greg Stone, Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East, said "EDM 836 is a straightforward call to the Government noting that at present local communities are not consulted when licenses for HMOs are granted, and calls on the Government to bring forward new laws to require planning permission for change of use to be granted before an HMO licence can be granted.

"This move has long been supported by local Lib Dem councillors in Jesmond, Ouseburn, and Heaton, and I believe that this should be a key priority for the Newcastle East constituency.

"Unfortunately Labour ministers continue to drag their feet on this issue, despite being lobbied by Newcastle Lib Dem councillors, and the city's Labour MP s appear to be too busy to add their signature to this motion, which has attracted support from many other Labour MP s on a cross-party basis.

"Labour in Newcastle pretend that they are concerned about this issue but the truth is that they simply can't be bothered to act."