Letter: Long-term Solution To Homes Of Multiple Occupants?
From Alderman Bernard Parke
We all know that it is extremely difficult for our young people to buy homes in their home town of Guildford. With the current high rents, it is virtually impossible for them to make provisions to save for a deposit on what would no doubt become a family home.
Remember, the family home is the bed rock of family life.
It is often suggested that building ‘affordable’ homes would help to resolve this problem. However, many of these so-called affordable homes have been snapped up by speculators and used to house visiting students.
I am led to believe that many of these landlords live far away from Guildford, and indeed some live far away from our shores.
Student lets are attractive to these speculators as they are short-term lets covering a period of one year, which gives landlords some liquidity, although for part of this time the properties tend to be unoccupied.
This in turn is leading to an increasing number of homes of multiple occupants (HMOs) and with problems (such as litter and discarded refuse) that is now being generated in central Guildford. A problem which has often been reported by contributors to The Dragon.
However, is this HMO policy the answer?
Will this give us a long-term solution?
I am told many university towns restrict the number of such lets in central areas.
We must now appreciate that Guildford Borough Council has at long last recognised this problem and the distress that it has brought to neighbouring residents.
Perhaps the problem is beyond the powers of our council and one that central government should address with a Rent Act.
This worked in the past, by not only giving security of tenure, but kept homes affordable and less attractive to speculators.
To build on the metropolitan green belt is not the answer, for if this were to start where would it end?
The green belt has been handed down to us, and as such we are little more than its trustees.