what BiB’s Facebook admin. lady said to me earlier today. She keeps an eye on
local Facebook pages and sent a number of screenshots of comments showing
varying degrees of discontent with Homes in Multiple Occupation (HMO.)
A month or so ago I didn’t know what an HMO was and now the acronym crops up every day.
Bexley Council put out a Press Release on the subject three weeks ago and on Friday in response to criticism it highlighted a particular case in Penhill Road on its website.
When the subject of HMOs first came to the fore and I was unsure of the facts I asked my MP if she could explain it. It may be worth reading what she said again. At the time it was being said that Bromley and Greenwich had an Article 4 Direction in place to offer some protection against bad landlords but at last week’s Resources Scrutiny meeting the Deputy Director of Housing said that those two boroughs were in the same boat as Bexley. I suspect that Bromley and Greenwich have applied for, but not yet been granted, an Article 4 while Bexley is still dithering putting our neighbours ahead of the game.
During the past month a Facebook page has come into being and membership has shot up very quickly indeed. A lot of people are very agitated about the Penhill Road HMO and a protest was scheduled for today; maybe that is what is needed because there are more than 1,000 HMOs in the borough and Bexley Council has not taken any effective action before now.
The HMO Facebook posts suggest that 16 male refugees moved into 117 Penhill Road and women living nearby have already been threatened by them.
The lack of housing in the borough is at crisis point, local residents are being shunted out to Manchester whilst those who manage to cross the Channel are accommodated.
Whether one sympathises with the migrants or not, the downsides cannot be ignored.
There is a distinct possibility that overcrowding will bring problems with noise, squalor and extra traffic.
Fortunately the Penhill Road case seems to have had a happy conclusion, the next door neighbour has reported on a Blackfen Facebook page that the Home Office has stepped in and had 24 men removed.
Keep your fingers crossed that the next HMO is not in your road. Bexley Council is still thinking about whether or not it should apply for an Article 4 Direction.
Council Press Release.