Council wins fight to stop HMO

A property in Brighton must be converted back to a single dwelling after a government planning inspector upheld the council’s decision to refuse permission to turn it into a house of multiple occupation (HMO).

Brighton & Hove City Council’s Planning Enforcement team served a notice on 10 February 2016 requiring the property at 17 Bernard Road, Brighton, be put back to use as a single dwelling as it had not gained planning permission and following concerns from residents about increased noise and disturbance.

In Brighton & Hove property owners in five wards must get planning permission to convert single dwellings into HMOs. This is to make sure communities have a range of housing types in their area, so if more than 10% of properties within 50 metres of the application site are HMOs planning permission will be refused.

Property owner Mr D Rayward and Millhouse Enterprises Limited appealed the council’s enforcement notice and refusal of planning permission but the Inspector rejected the appeal and ordered that the house be returned to use as a single dwelling within three months. The owners have until 6 April 2017 to comply after which the HMO becomes illegal.

The planning inspector upheld the council’s decision that the HMO is causing a detrimental effect on neighbours and the character of the area and that the quality of the accommodation is not suitable.

Six bedrooms have been created in the house, which is being rented to students.

Councillor Julie Cattell, chair of the city’s planning committee, said: “We’re pleased that the Inspector has agreed with our decision to refuse this cramped HMO. Two rooms were created in the roof of this property giving those tenants just three square metres each of living space. The communal lounge was also not big enough for six people. Turning this property back into a single dwelling house will bring a much-needed family home back into circulation, helping to redress the balance of housing mix in this community.”

Council action against unauthorised HMOs has been stepped up in recent months. Since November enforcement notices have been issued on 19 Riley Road, 64 Upper Lewes Road, 28 Lower Bevendean Avenue and 39 Newmarket Road.

More information about previous enforcement action