North Yorkshire Council said that Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are ‘a key part’ of local housing needs despite residents’ concerns about increasing numbers in Scarborough.

Residents and politicians in Scarborough have raised concerns about what they say is an increasing number of HMOs which some have claimed are leading to “noise pollution and increasing antisocial behaviour”.

However, North Yorkshire Council said that there has only been an increase of five HMOs in Scarborough since 2018.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a council housing director said that whilst “HMOs play a key part in meeting local housing needs” he also recognised that “an over-concentration of them in a small area can cause problems”.

This year, the change of use and extension of two properties on Scarborough’s Victoria Road have been approved for use as 11-bed and seven-bed HMOs, respectively.

An application is currently also pending for a six-bed HMO on Dean Road, Scarborough.

Across Scarborough, there are currently 113 licensed HMOs, according to North Yorkshire Council.

The authority’s assistant director for housing, Andrew Rowe, said: “Since 2006, HMOs, which are properties that are occupied by five people or more from at least two separate households, must be licensed.

“These licences help to ensure that properties are not overcrowded, are managed properly and do not pose risks to the health and safety of the occupiers.”

It has been suggested that across the country, many local authorities lack the resources to track so-called “rogue landlords” who ignore rules about overcrowding in rental properties.

According to a recent investigation by The Guardian, data from English councils suggests that there are more than 30,000 large unlicensed HMOs across the country.

Mr Rowe added: “Anyone wishing to operate a larger HMO that has six or more unrelated people, must also seek planning permission as well as the licence. This is why supplementary planning rules were introduced some years ago to help avoid this.”

“These rules limit the number of HMOs in any one area and also take into account the size of the proposed buildings and how many people will be living in them to gauge their potential impact on the area.”