Properties converted into homes for multiple single people would need planning permission in a new move to be considered by Middlesbrough’s Executive.
Currently, property-owners can legally remodel a building into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), a building with separate bedrooms in which residents typically only share bathroom and kitchen spaces.
A planning application is only needed if the HMO will house seven or more people – which means the Council cannot exercise any control over how and where smaller HMOs are sited.
On Wednesday, members of Middlesbrough Council’s Executive will vote to change that process and introduce a non-immediate Article 4 Direction that all HMO owners must obtain planning permission to be converted.
HMOs play an important role in the town centre housing market, mainly catering for students, but councillors have raised concerns about the growth of small-scale HMOs in other areas like North Ormesby, Ayresome and Linthorpe.
Because they are currently outside of planning control, it is difficult to accurately estimate how many there are in each area.
Cllr Theo Furness, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Houses of Multiple Occupancy have their place in the local property market and add choice for residents.
“But the pace at which some streets are turning from family homes into HMOs can change the fabric of an area, so this decision allows local residents and councillors to have a greater say.
“We’ve listened to what people have told us and believe introducing planning oversight would help the Council in its aim to ensure high quality, affordable housing is available for everyone in the town.”
The Article 4 Direction would not stop new HMOs being developed but would bring more applications into the planning system, giving the public more say.
The town centre HMO market would be unaffected by the change, as it falls within the boundaries of the Middlesbrough Development Corporation.