STUDENTS are facing eviction from their Ormskirk home after the council issued an enforcement notice against their landlord.
The house on Pine Grove was illegally converted into a five-bedroomed house of multiple occupation (HMO) without West Lancashire Borough Council’s consent and now the council is demanding it be returned to its original use.
After complaints that the house had been turned into a student home in September 2013 the council investigated and told the landlord a planning application would have to be submitted for the premises change of use.
The application was duly submitted by the owner but this was refused for several reasons in November last year.
A policy in the Local Plan prevents HMO’s exceeding a certain percentage of homes in several Ormskirk streets.
Pine Grove has a 5% HMO limit and allowing the five-bedroomed home would have exceeded this limit, meaning the application was rejected.
Another reason for rejection was that the HMO would also have increased the vehicle and pedestrian movements around the property, increasing the noise and disturbance to residents.
This controversial policy can be overcome if the applicant presents compelling reasons for allowing the application however in this instance no compelling reasons were presented to the council.
All of the neighbouring properties also objected to the planning application, complaining that noise levels, litter and untidiness had all increased as a result of the HMO’s existence.
The council have now issued an enforcement notice to remedy the breach of planning control and return the home to its previous use.
The landlord has six months maximum to rectify the problem, meaning the students could be evicted during the vital summer exam period.
Edge Hill University declined to comment as the issue concerns a private landlord.
Are you a resident that has had problems with homes of multiple occupation? Or are you a student that has had problems? Email Sophie.firstname.lastname@example.org.