HC Deb 26 February 2004 vol 418 cc555-6W
Chris Ruane

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many houses in multiple occupation there are in each ward in each principal seaside town in England, listed in descending order; and if he will make a statement on action he is taking to require landlords to improve housing standards in houses in multiple occupation. [154957]

Keith Hill

Information about the number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) by ward in seaside towns is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Housing Bill, introduced on 8 December 2003 is aimed at raising the standards of management and physical conditions in HMOs by requiring rented properties that represent the greatest risks to their occupants to be licensed by the local authority. Licensing will ensure that suitable managers suitably manage such properties. By identifying where they are and who their landlords are, the physical conditions in such properties can be more easily targeted under Part 1 of the Bill. Local authorities will be required to license larger HMOs of three storeys or more that are occupied by five persons. They will also have discretionary powers to license categories of smaller HMOs where there are particular problems that need to be addressed and when, following a local consultation, it is decided that alternative measures would not be entirely effective.