Family Housing Policy Update

October 27, 2010 8:00 AM

The Lib Dem council administration has formally announced it will seek to introduce a new planning policy making it tougher to convert to family homes into "houses of multiple occupation" for the private rental market.

The unchecked growth of rented properties for students in areas including Heaton, Jesmond, and Sandyford in the past has had considerable impact on family residential neighbourhoods and the Lib Dems have been working to address this (Labour is opposing these restrictions). As a result, the council will now require formal planning permission for "change of use" of this kind in designated areas of the city, which we hope will help to control conversions and limit the loss of family homes and their impact on the property market." The new Government's legal requirements mean that this new policy will be subject to a year's notice period, otherwise councils will be required to compensate landlords for this change. We do not feel funding landlords in this way is the best use of council taxpayers' money, particularly given that the total cost in Newcastle is estimated as being as much as £5 million. The council therefore expects to comply with the consultation period and the policy will start in 2011.