Bristol aims to curb HMO growth in the city with new regulations that limit numbers where there are already at least 10% in a neighbourhood.

The council now won’t give planning permission to landlords looking to convert family homes into student housing in these areas, as it says an over-concentration of HMOs can create conflict between residents and students.

Many councillors complain the sector is damaging communities, impacting on the housing market, creating high rent and poor-quality accommodation.

Bristol has about 6,320 HMOs, with numbers growing in recent years; areas already found to exceed the new 10% threshold include Easton, Eastville, Bishopston, Ashley Down, Totterdown and St George West.


The new policy prevents homes being sandwiched between HMOs and sets higher standards for housing conditions, including room sizes, sound insulation and bin and bicycle storage.

The rules also mean it will turn down applications that create unreasonable levels of on-street parking, cause a detrimental impact by making alterations to buildings and structures, or where it would reduce the choice of homes in the area by changing the housing mix.

The council says its strategy will create more inclusive, balanced and sustainable communities.

Cabinet member for spatial design and city planning, councillor Nicola Beech (left), adds: “Concentrations of HMOs in neighbourhoods can lead to imbalanced and unsustainable communities.

“And they can damage the character of an area. Those harmful impacts are associated with high numbers of HMOs and affect communities’ overall health and wellbeing.”

Its consultation received 78 responses, with only five of these objecting to the plans.
Read more: Are HMOs the way forward?

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