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Multiple Occupation

Volume 87: debated on Thursday 21 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he plans to take to draw the attention of local authorities to the consolidation of their powers in respect of houses in multiple occupation in the Housing Act 1985; and if he plans to give any assistance to authorities to make fuller use of these powers.

My right hon. Friend proposes to consult the local authority associations and other interested organisations shortly about a draft circular on houses in multiple occupation. The draft circular will be accompanied by a draft memorandum which will draw attention to local authorities' wide ranging powers for securing improved conditions in this type of accommodation. Subject to these consultations, my right hon. Friend hopes to publish the circular and memorandum shortly after the Housing Act 1985 comes into force on 1 April 1986. The consolidated Act and the new circular will be helpful to local authorities in the use of their powers.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress of his research project on houses in multiple occupation; when he will publish the report of the first stage of the project on the postal survey of local authorities; if he will list the local authorities in which the physical survey of houses in multiple occupation is being conducted; and when he intends to publish the report on the second stage of the project.

The first part of the research project, a postal survey of all local authorities in England and Wales, has been completed. My Department is studying the contractor's report. My right hon. Friend hopes to announce a summary of the results early in the new year and to publish a detailed account shortly afterwards. The second part of the research, also completed, was a pilot physical and social survey in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the city of Birmingham and the city of Gloucester. This was a feasibility study to consider the scope for a full scale study and the results will not be published. The full physical and social survey of 550 HMOs is being carried out in the following areas:

  • Bristol city council
  • Bolton metropolitan borough council
  • Calderdale metropolitan borough council
  • Cardiff city council
  • Colchester borough council
  • Derby city council
  • Ealing borough council
  • Eastbourne borough council
  • Harrow borough council
  • Kensington and Chelsea borough council
  • Kingston upon Hull city council
  • Leicester city council
  • Lewisham borough council
  • Peterborough city council
  • Plymouth city council
  • Salisbury district council
  • Sandwell metropolitan borough council
  • Wakefield metropolitan borough council
  • Wirral metropolitan borough council
  • York city council
This third stage will be completed in the summer of 1986 and the result will be published in the winter of 1986–87.