Article 4 Direction, to be implemented in March, will mean that planning permission will be required for houses shared by at least three residents of whom none are relations.
Areas such as Portswood have sparked concern as non-student residents are unhappy with the noise pollution and anti-social behaviour that a high volume of students bring to the neighbourhood; the article aims to tackle some of these issues.
Councillor Matthew Dean said: “We want Southampton to be a place which embraces diversity but also one in which families can enjoy living.”
However, there has been debate as to whether the plans will do anything to change the situation.
A second year psychology student said: “I can’t see that this will make any difference to the fundamental problems associated with students. Reducing the number of student houses does not teach those that are left to behave responsibly and respect the community.”
Others have expressed concern that the article will place even more pressure on a housing system in which demand is often greater than supply. The Southern Landlords Association has suggested that these restrictions may force landlords to consider converting shared homes into flats.
Moves such as these could mean that students face increased difficulty when securing a property following their time in university accommodation.
The Wessex Scene spoke to a student of History and Archaeology who said: “I’m not particularly worried. At the end of the day students need somewhere to live and if article 4 makes it impossible for us to find housing, then SUSU and the council will have to make changes.”
The move against HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) comes at a time when student housing is high on SUSU’s agenda. Housing week 2012 will take place in February in a bid to raise awareness of common misconceptions surrounding contracts, rent and letting agents.
For more information on student housing before then, students can read the Wessex Scene’s housing features in the December issue of the magazine.