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Headingley Development Trust & Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

Introduction


I spent a good deal of my adult life living in Headingley (Leeds) and watched it change demographically as the student population of the city expanded rapidly during the 90s and early 00s. The charming set of back-to-back houses (typically 2-bedroomed) in which I was initially in the majority as owner-occupier was gradually overtaken by landlords. What then followed was a reconfiguration of the properties in my locality to accommodate 4 (or in some cases 5) students. In the larger terraced houses the occupancy was typically 5+. By the time I sold up in 2007 owner-occupancy was very much in the minority.


The supply of student accommodation gradually caught up in the shape of large apartment complexes such that by the early '10s the beginnings of over-supply of student accommodation were evident.


The Headingley Development Trust was established in 2005 as a community benefit society. It operates as a self-financed business and seeks to promote Headingley as a place to work/invest and to live as a long-term resident. In the 00s it produced two Neighbourhood Design Statements (NDSs) to identify and protect aspects of the urban fabric from unsympathetic (re)development.


One of the major issues affecting the area has been the growth of Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) involving often as it does the conversion of, what could be termed, family homes into high density homes for students (as described above). Under the banner of Headingley Homes, HDT has recently begun a slow process of purchasing properties and converting them back into a configuration fit for long-term residents/families.


The analysis in this post looks at the distribution of HMOs (in this case larger HMOs - those that require a licence with the local council) across the area in which HDT operates.


Data Sources & Limitations


Councils keep an online database of large HMOs (those classed as having 5 or more occupants and for which a licence is required). The data for this exercise was sourced from Leeds City Council, cleaned and filtered for those postcodes that fall within the HDT sphere of influence. The dataset was downloaded in early February 2020 but contained records that had a stated renewal date in January 2020 so I'd suggest that it is up-to-date as of the start of 2020.


The Map


The concentration of large HMOs across Headingley and Hyde Park is quite something! A number of postcode points have over 30 properties registered as HMOs with Leeds City Council. In these cases it represents most if not all of the properties in a street.


At the point at which I downloaded it, the council's HMO database contained 2954 properties registered as large HMO. Of these 1828 (62%) were within the HDT sphere of influence - 1723 within the Headingley & Hyde Park NDS area and 105 in the Far Headingley, Weetwood & West Park NDS area.


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