3 February 2015

Have your say on plans to extend licensing of shared homes

Brighton & Hove City Council is seeking residents’ views on proposals to extend the licensing of smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to the wards of Brunswick & Adelaide; Central Hove; East Brighton; Goldsmid; Preston Park; Regency and Westbourne.

The proposals follow the success of a licensing scheme in five wards along the Lewes Road.  Introduced in 2012, the scheme has reaped huge fire safety benefits for the many students and other tenants who live in HMOs in the wards.  Indeed, fire safety improvements have been needed in 95.8 per cent of the properties covered by the scheme so far. Extensive insulation work has also been carried out.

The scheme was introduced following the growth in the private rented sector and the increasing number of smaller HMOs. A range of issues emerged, including higher levels of noise complaints, anti-social behaviour, inadequate fire safety and health inequalities. The aim is to improve the management of HMOs and standards.

Cllr Bill Randall, chair of the housing committee, said: “Private rented housing accounts for about 30 per cent of all the city’s housing, and the council has a duty to make sure these homes are safe, healthy and well-managed. This is particularly important in HMOs. Having started the work in the student areas, we are now addressing the city’s more traditional ‘bedsit land’ where we expect to find many older tenants and many people living on low incomes.

“I would like to thank the many good landlords who have co-operated with the council over the introduction of the scheme and those residents who have told us about HMOs that less scrupulous landlords have failed to register.

“The housing committee has approved my proposal to publish a public register of HMO landlords on the city council website, to help those residents who want to raise issues about the management of HMOs in their neighbourhoods.

‘Meanwhile, we want to hear everyone’s views on plans to extend licensing to more HMOs across the city.”

The consultation lasts until 20 April 2015. Have your say, or write to us at HMO Licensing Consultation, Private Sector Housing, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ.

Notes:

The current additional HMO licensing scheme was introduced on 5 November 2012
It covers the wards of: Hanover & Elm Grove, Moulsecoomb & Bevendean, St Peters &North Laine, Hollingdean & Stanmer, Queens Park
Total of 9,910 extra conditions/safety improvements were required to 1,770 homes (out of 1,830 licences, 96.7% at 22 January 2015)
Includes 5,078 fire safety improvements being required to 1,754 homes (out of 1,830 licences, 95.8% at 22 January 2015)
With these properties having at least 3 occupiers, more than 5,300 residents in the Lewes Road wards will be living in safer homes due to the scheme. A 300 further applications still to be finalised.