9 November 2017

Over 80% in favour of new licensing for private rented housing

Two proposals for new licensing schemes aimed at improving conditions in private rented housing received over 80% public support in consultations carried out over the summer.

The consultation results and recommendations to introduce the two new schemes will be discussed at the Housing & New Homes Committee on Wednesday 15 November.

The first proposal is an extension to the Additional Licensing Scheme for smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) not covered by mandatory licensing. This scheme has been running in a number of areas since 2012 and, if approved, the scheme would be introduced city-wide, affecting around 500 further HMOs. There were 796 responses to the consultation, with 87% in favour.

The second is the introduction of a new ‘Selective Licensing Scheme’ for private rented homes not covered by HMO Licensing in 12 wards, covering central and coastal wards from East Brighton to Westbourne and the wards bordering Lewes Road. A total of 804 responses were received for this consultation, with 81% in favour. Selective licensing in these 12 wards would likely affect around 27,000 properties. If the Selective Licensing Scheme is approved, permission would be sought from the Secretary of State to proceed.

Mandatory licensing covers HMOs that are three or more storeys and accommodate more than five people who form two or more households. Additional and selective licensing are discretionary schemes local authorities can introduce where certain conditions are met.

Evidence from current HMO licensing in Brighton & Hove shows that almost 90% of properties required improvements to ensure they were fit and safe for occupation. Property inspections resulted in improvements in 2,629 homes, benefitting an estimated 13,000 tenants. 

Councillor Anne Meadows, chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, said:

“Private rented housing is a vital source of accommodation in the city, and we know that the quality of management and maintenance of properties is inconsistent.

“The proposed new licensing schemes aim to raise standards in more privately rented homes and help us make sure that all tenants in the sector can live in safe, healthy and well-managed homes.

“Our current licensing schemes have already ensured thousands of properties are better managed and safer for residents. The responses to our consultations show that residents agree that there’s still more to be done.”

The full report is available in the papers for the 15 November 2017 Housing & New Homes Committee.

For more information on the proposals, including frequently asked questions, go to www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/prs-licensing-consultation.

For more information on current HMO licensing schemes in the city, go to www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/hmo-licensing.