VIGILANT residents and council enforcers are helping to tackle “rogue” Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Bournemouth.

The council said it was committed to taking tough action to enforce HMO legislation, which requires landlords to submit a change of use planning application if they want to create a new shared house of three or more people.

These applications then are refused if more than 10 per cent of the properties within 100m radius are already HMOs. This can often be the case in Winton, where there are a high number of student houses, and Boscombe, where they are a large number of bedsits.

Recently, the council refused change of use permission to a property in Parker Road, Winton, which was being used as a HMO without the correct permission.

Winton East Cllr Pat Oakley, pictured, said this was an example brought to the council’s attention by vigilant residents. “There is a vigilance locally and residents are very good at identifying rogue HMOs,” he said.

“If there are any, they need to apply for planning permission and if the area has a high percentage of HMOs they should expect to be refused.

“I know there are other properties in the area being looked into at this time.”

Gary Josey, Bournemouth council’s service director for housing, said: “We are committed to raising the standards of housing in Bournemouth and we will take tough action where landlords are in breach of management regulations and licensing conditions.

“The council has implemented a number of measures to achieve this, including the appointment of a specialist officer to target rogue landlords, focused enforcement action, a stronger landlord accreditation scheme and closer working with the police, university and the community to bring about the improvements needed.”