Private sector housing
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Private Sector Housing
Warm, safe and secure homes
The council's Private Sector Housing Team works towards warm, safe healthy homes for all the city's homeowners and private tenants.
The team covers all housing which is not owned by the council, including leasehold properties, privately rented accommodation, housing association properties and those which are owner occupied. Most of Brighton & Hove's residents (85%) live in properties which are privately owned.
The council undetook a Stock Condition Survey in 2008 [PDF 1753kb], to review and inform our future housing policies and strategies. The survey is a detailed picture of housing conditions in the private sector.
The amount of private rented properties in Brighton & Hove is 21% - twice as high as the national average - with a very high number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The city has the sixth largest private rented sector in the country and over seven times the number of converted flats. Three-quarters of the housing stock was built before 1919, often these homes are harder to insulate and to heat. Affordability is also a key issue our residents, with high average house prices, and high rental prices, many people struggle to find somewhere to live.
Poor quality housing has a detrimental effect on the health of the people living in those homes and on the quality of life in an area. While the responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of homes within the private sector is with the owner, the council recognises that some - particulary the elderly and other vulnerable groups - will not have the resources necesary for this, and we have a vital role to play in helping these people. The Private Housing Renewal Policy [397kb] covers how we deliver this assistance.
Guide To Our Services
If you are an owner occupier or a tenant renting from a private landlord and your home is in a poor state of repair or needs adapting to enable you to remain living there, contact the Private Sector Housing Team to see if we can help.
Our staff can give you advice and let you know what options are available to you. In some cases we may refer you to another council service, external partner or agency.
Environmental Health and Technical Officers can ask landlords to make homes safe and deal with problems. The team can take action to deal with disrepair, fire safety, overcrowding and inadequate cooking, washing or toilet facilities. A common problem is issues relating to damp, mould and condensation. Officers use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to consider the health and safety of people living in private residential properties. Contact (01273) 293156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Home Improvement Officers can give advice to home owners on applying for help towards the cost of repairing or maintaining their home. Contact them on (01273) 293164 or email email@example.com
The Housing Adaptations Team can help with adapting homes for people with disabilities, both in public and private sector housing. For more information go to our adaptations page.
Energy Efficiency If you are considering making energy saving improvements to your home there are a range of grants and offers available to help you. For more information go to our home energy efficiency page.
Empty Properties. The Empty Property Team supports owners to bring their long term empty properties back into use. Officers can also offer advice to neighbours experiencing problems. For more information go to our Empty Property Page.
A leasehold property is one owned by someone else (the freeholder) who sells you the right to use it for a period of time. You will not own it outright. Information can be found on the Leasehold Advisory Service website. For an update on commonhold, please see the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform page.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
Definitions differ in different pieces of legislation but for Housing Act purposes HMOs are properties lived in by people from more than one family household, where some facilities are shared. They include shared houses and bedsit properties. They also include some buildings that have been converted into self-contained flats but this depends on when they were converted and how many of the flats are tenanted. In April 2006, mandatory HMO Licensing was introduced under the terms of the Housing Act 2004.
For further details of HMO Licensing, including downloadable application forms and guidance, please see our HMO Licensing page or contact the Private Sector Housing team on (01273 293156) or at the address as listed below.
Financial Assistance for Home Repairs and Improvements
If you are a home owner who cannot afford essential repairs or improvements to your home you may be able to get financial assistance from the council, usually in the form of a loan, to bring your home up to the government’s Decent Homes Standard. The full range of assistance that might be available is in the council’s Housing Renewal Policy. Home Trust Loans of between £1000 and £25,000 are available to eligible home onwers for qualifying works at a fixed, subsidised interest rate.
Examples of the type of work that may be eligible include a leaky roof, rising damp or defective windows. Leaseholders where large scale works are needed to the common parts may also be eligible for a loan.
Home Trust Loans are administered by Parity Trust, a not-for-profit organisation. More information can be found on their website www.hometrustloan.org.uk
For smaller scale work Minor Decent Homes Grants may be available to enable a qualifying homeowner - in receipt of a means tested benefit or where the state pension is 50% or more of household income - to carry out improvements to meet the Decent Homes Standard
How to contact us
- you can complete our online request for assistance form
- you can email us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
- you can telephone us on the above numbers between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday
- you can call into the customer centre at Hove Town Hall, Norton Road (Please note that an officer may not always be available to deal with your query without a prior appointment)
- you can write to us at:
Private Sector Housing
Brighton & Hove City Council
Ground Floor Hove Town Hall
Hove, BN3 3BQ
Our target is to respond to emergency requests for assistance within one working day and within three working days for non-emergencies.
We will respond to requests for information within 10 working days.