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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

In a long reply on another post on HMOs last week, I concluded with the following paragraphs:


In essence this is where we are at today:

  1. The Council has recognised that there will be a substantial increase in demand for HMOs.
  2. New legislation frees up the supply of housing available for use as HMOs.
  3. The Council has chosen not to use available powers to limit that supply because they say it is too expensive.
  4. Instead they have opted for an approach which depends on managing the quality of HMOs and relies solely on enforcement.

So what’s the likely result? Well You tell me, but what I see is that unless the Council decide to use Article 4, with the liberalised controls, the increased demand for HMOs will be met with an increased supply; the Council's enforcement team will do their best to police HMO quality, but if Council performance on the control of illegal conversions is anything to go by the impact will be limited.


What's the Solution?

I'd like to hear that I'm wrong in drawing the conclusions that I do, but it seems to me that we desperately need Article 4. Other Councils seem to agree. They're applying for it.  Haringey say it’s too expensive. What exactly is the cost? I’d like to see the Council’s report on that.

I’ve been told that much of the cost is in the need to apply for the powers. However, in a previous post I quoted the Royal Planning Institute:

“Most importantly the Minister is also advising that councils with policies already limiting HMO development in parts of their locality, can bring in Article 4 Directions straightaway, without notice, to coincide with the national policy change.”

The problem we had with the spread of gambling establishments was principally an issue with national legislation that the Council had little influence on. With this issue, the Council has the power to control the unmanaged spread of HMOs. If five years down the line, the borough is witnessing multiple problems as a result of an explosion of HMOs we will be justified in pointing the finger at the Council as being responsible and justified in holding them accountable for failing to use the powers that are available.

I'm posting here just to check if folk think we should consider applying pressure for Article 4 or just let the fates do their worst?



Tags for Forum Posts: HMOs Article 4, hmos, new hmo controls, 2011

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Gordon, report them, report them, report them! Reporting it's a start.
OK, folks, I'll see if I can get a meeting set up.

Hi Hugh (and all),


Please let me know also how I can help.

Here's a reply from Cllr Canver (originally posted on another thread) to my emailed request for us to meet with her :

Dear Hugh,

As reported, the council is moving ahead with the additional licensing scheme for HMOs in the area in order to improve the quality.  An Article 4 would mean that permitted development rights are withdrawn. This withdrawal would need to go through a lengthy consultation period and be fully justified for the council not to have to pay compensation for the withdrawal of nationally permitted devolopment rights.  At this stage, our preferred option is to progress the additional licensing programme which is designed to increase improved and well managed smaller HMOs. The new additional licensing scheme will also generate its own resources which can be ploughed back into HMO management and improvement. Having said all these, I would like to inform you that I am planning to organise a borough wide seminar in the Autumn on HMOs to debate what other meaningful tools we have to introduce to control clustering of HMOs in the borough and to frame our strategic approach to these issues. Inevitably, at the seminar Article 4 Direction will be part of our debate. As you'll appreciate Article 4 will require much wider debate and strategic approach fully analysing advantages and disadvantages of such introduction. In the meantime, I will ask officers to e-mail you an update on the current additional licensing scheme that we are progressing in Harringay. Have a good Sunday.


Thanks Nilgun. I appreciate your response, but Haringey's position seems to be at odds with the rapid progress being made by other councils up and down the country.

In April this year Landlord Today reported that the following Councils have already adopted the measure:

Charnwood (Loughborough, Leics)
Milton Keynes


Many other councils are in the process of applying.

No doubt this whole area is very complex. I wonder if one of your officers might have the time explain Haringey Council's extreme caution. What issues does Haringey see that these councils are missing?

As far as lengthy process on on introducing Article 4 is concerned, perhaps you could comment on the following opinion from the Royal Planning Institute:

“Most importantly the Minister is also advising that councils with policies already limiting HMO development in parts of their locality, can bring in Article 4 Directions straightaway, without notice, to coincide with the national policy change.”

Am I wrong in assuming that, if this were correct, Haringey could move as fast as other Councils up and down the country?

Dealing with the risk of compensation, here is the committee report from Barking and Dagenham recommending the adoption of Article 4. It sets out the issues with adopting Article 4 quite neatly. It also makes a clear statement that any risk of compensation can be avoided by giving 12 months' notice of adopting Article 4. I should imagine that the Council is accurate in making this statement. (See also LGI&D commentary on this)

You assured me on April 21 that you would let us know the relative costs and efficacies of Haringey's new controls and processes' vs. Article 4. I have neither seen anything on the website nor received anything from your officers. I think we would all take reassurance from any evidence that suggests that Haringey's new controls will address what the council has called the forthcoming 'substantial increase in the demand for HMOs".

You imply that you will not meet us till the autumn when you are planning a borough-wide seminar. Have I understood this correctly? If so, that is rather disappointing. As you are aware, Harringay has more widespread issue with HMOs than anywhere else in the borough and for this reason you have been focussing on Harringay to pilot your approaches to managing HMOs. Given the urgency of the situation, I'm not clear why you feel it inappropriate to discuss the issue with Harringay residents now.

We must get a reply to this. The idea that the council think they can manager smaller and better HMO's is simply not realistic. As an example, it's taken 8 years of fighting to try and get my local HMO under control. I have never felt more alone. The help from the council has been minimal. Had it not been for Nora from David Lammy's office's involvement I would have been forced to move. The issue is still not fully resolved, and we still have sleepless nights due to the noise and antisocial behaviour this HMO (and many others) cause. My story is not unique within Harringay. This must be dealt with asap, or our borough will become a slum.
Ditto Annette!
Hugh, I have promised you the additional licensing report and you have already been sent a copy. At the seminar that I plan to organise in the Autumn (in Nov) we will debate the use of A4D in detail. At this stage we've made a committment to progress the additional licensing scheme. The advantages of this scheme is outlined in the report that you have a copy of. A4D is not ruled out but that needs to be debated widely. At the Corporate HMO working group we had the initial look at the advatages and disadvatages of article 4 and decided that for the time being we would pursue the additional licensing scheme and revisit A4D at a later stage. We will have a detailed debate in the Autumn. in the meantime pls support the additional licensing scheme. Do you still see any point in meeting? I'm afraid I do not have more to add to this position. 

This is the exchange I was referring to Nilgun:


Reply by Hugh April 19, 2011 at 10:07am

Thanks Nilgun. Useful. It sounds like the officers have done some very careful work comparing the relative costs and efficacies of 'other controls and processes' vs. Article 4. Please can you let me know how I can get a copy of their report.

Reply by Cllr. Nilgun Canver on April 21, 2011 at 2:08am

It'll be on the website. Will let you know.


I'd like to understand precisely why the decision to slow-track A4D in Haringey was taken. it hasn't yet been clear to me from your responses so far. It must be recorded somewhere. A great start would be to make that available. So please could you tell me where I can get that from.

Of course there's no suggestion of the additional licensing be supported.


Hugh, as you're aware almost 2 years ago we began the audit of HMOs in the Harringay pilot with a view that we would pursue the additional licensing scheme. There had been presentations on this to the Neigh. Assembly too. It took us months to progress the infrastructure for this as it had to be evidence based. There was no way that we would drop all our hard work after all this time and start a new process such as A4D straight away. We all needed to understand it fully first. Despite the fact that the compensation element of A4D has recently been improved, it's still a cumbersome process. Any decison to take this route requires detailed consideration and we will do this in the Autumn. The period will also give us some idea about the effectiveness of the additional licensing scheme. I hope this is helpful. have a good night! I'm going to bed.

Thanks Nilgun, I think my reply to Zena below probably applies as my reply to you also.

I think locals may still welcome the chance to hear from you and your officers direct on this issue and share with you their hopes and fears. If you feel that sort of interaction with residents is appropriate then I think a meeting is still a good idea.

More on this.

Planned changes to the Shared Accommodation Rate for Housing Benefit kick in next January and will mean a tidal wave of 25 to 34-year-olds on housing benefit will have to seek shared HMO accommodation, virtually all of which would be in the private rented sector.

From the New Year, changes to the rules mean that that an estimated 88,000 single people up to the age of 35 will no longer be able to live in their own self-contained rental flats and will be seeking shared accommodation.



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