Just three properties are officially registered as ‘houses in multiple occupation’ (HMOs) in Boston, despite the actual total thought to be about 600.
The borough council’s ‘Public Register of HMO Licenses Granted’, which is available upon request from the Municipal Buildings, shows only properties on Spilsby Road, Pen Street and Willoughby Road as registered.
Officials want to change the definition in a bid to fully understand who is living where in the town.
Coun Paul Gleeson said Boston’s population was similar to university towns, with lots of youngish men who work hard in the week and play hard at weekends.
He said: “If a problem is caused by students we would go to the university and have a word. We have got no-one to go to at the moment.”
He added that his best guess would be that there are 600 HMOs in Boston.
A council spokesman said the definition for mandatory licensing was currently ‘very narrow’ – applying to two or more households containing five or more unrelated people in accommodation of three or more storeys.
The new regulations would mean two or more households containing more than two unrelated people in any type of accommodation, would have to be registered.
Coun Mike Gilbert, portfolio holder for housing, said: “The purpose of licensing is to ensure that the properties are correctly managed providing decent homes. Any issues adversely affecting the neighbourhood arising from HMOs will be firmly and effectively reduced.”
The council has budgeted £140,000 to look at licensing HMOs.