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Aspects of The Housing Act 2006

Comment 7th July 2010

Aspects of the Housing Act 2006

In this Act, New Labour introduced some draconian, arbitrary and inconsistent limits on the numbers of (non-family) residents who could share a household, before it had to be declared an House in Multi-Occupation (HMO). (HMO status can lay the owner open to expropriation and much else, so has to be avoided at all costs.)

The reasoning behind this Act was evidently that New Labour wanted to inhibit the excessive ‘studentization’ or over-crowding of housing in suburbs near colleges and universities. As usual, the rest of us who don’t live in university towns have still had to pay a heavy price for this particular piece of ‘double-think’.

As an owner-occupier who is single, I’m allowed just 2 lodgers or house-guests in my own home by my local Council, whilst the 2 adjoining Councils in the same County allow 6 and 5 lodgers respectively. In other words, it’s purely down to the ‘jobsworths’ on our local Councils to interpret this inane Law in any way they happen to see fit, within enormously wide boundaries! (Almost certainly, a tighter interpretation must lead to more unproductive employment for their fellow ‘jobsworths’.) At the same time, there is a severe shortage of accommodation for single people in our town. Surely, for any Law to be enacted, it first needs a “raison d’être” – and it should then follow that the Law ought to be either applied uniformly throughout the country, or not at all.

Why does this matter?

I have highlighted just a few wholly irrational aspects of The Housing Act 2006 which have affected me personally . Like most of New Labour legislation, the Act needs to be fully overhauled (if not repealed altogether) so that the regulations it contains are sensible and consistent – and they don't give rise to completely unnecessary curbs on the provision of desperately needed housing by private landlords.

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