11 June 2015

Government backs council’s stand on shared houses

 Brighton & Hove City Council has just won two important planning appeals where landlords have been trying to set up shared houses, typically occupied by students or young professionals.

The government’s planning inspectorate dismissed both landlords’ appeals – related to properties at 17 and 15 Bernard Road.

The news follows a newspaper report yesterday which  gave the false impression the council had no powers over student housing and took no action on it.

The applications had originally been refused by the council on the grounds that there are already many student homes in the street.  Over two years ago, the council took special planning powers meaning anyone wishing to set up small houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) had to get planning consent. 

The rule applies to any home with more than two occupants from different families.  It can be applied in five key council wards:  Hanover and Elm Grove, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Hollingdean and Stanmer, St Peter’s and North Laine and Queen’s Park.

Chair of housing and new homes Cllr Anne Meadows said:  “I very much welcome these two decisions.  We are committed to ensuring that the city strikes the right balance between HMOs and long-term residents. There are clear regulations that make us able to ensure that neighbourhoods will maintain their residential characteristics and that Brighton & Hove remains a vibrant city in which we all live and work.”

A council spokesman added:  “One of the appeals dismissed directly related to the council’s enforcement notice against the HMO’s use, which will now allow the council to prosecute the landlord if the terms of the notice are breached.”