10 May 2017

Round of applause for Bournemouth

Grundon deputy chairman, Neil Grundon gives his view of Bournemouth’s decision to get tough with waste from houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

I think a virtual round of applause is due this week for Bournemouth Borough Council, which has been booed off the pier by the National Landlord’s Association (NLA). See the letsrecycle.com news story at: Bournemouth.

Neil Grundon: HMOs are businesses

The council decided that from April, when it introduced an alternate weekly collection service, houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) with seven or more tenants and who require an additional collection capacity over and above the council’s standard allowance, should be charged a ‘commercial’ rate for the service.

Although the council says it is the landlords, not the tenants, who will be charged for the additional capacity, the suggestion prompted the NLA to complain that the new charges are unfair on the tenants of HMO properties who already pay council tax.

I disagree.

HMO’s have sprung up on the back of our general inability to build houses anywhere other than on school playing fields and the lack of affordable, alternative options.

Whilst I am sure that living in an HMO as a student is a rite of passage, having no other option other than to cram in cheek by jowl into a human battery farm must be soul destroying.

Business

For the landlords however, HMOs are a potentially lucrative business – note the word business, for that is exactly what they are.

And although I have no desire to stamp out legitimate operations, I see no reason why landlords should be exempt from the commercial waste charges that other businesses have to pay.

With that in mind, I applaud the council for imposing commercial waste charges onto the landlords. Councils should not have to pay extra to service the increased amount of waste these multi-occupancy properties produce, and neither should single occupancy houses pick up the tab.

From a purely selfish commercial sense, the decision is also a potential win for businesses such as ourselves. After all, Bournemouth council has said that landlords are “not obliged” to use its own commercial waste collection service, heralding new opportunities for independent waste providers in a competitive market and helping to make sure that local authorities can’t monopolise the service.

To quote the perennial seaside favourite Mr Punch: “That’s the way to do it”!


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