6 June 2017

Seeking your views on licensing for private rented housing

Proposals to consult on two new licensing schemes aimed at improving conditions in private rented housing will be discussed at the Housing & New Homes Committee on Wednesday 14 June.

The first proposal is to extend 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 in the city since 2012, and the proposal is to introduce it city-wide. It is anticipated this would affect around 500 further HMOs.

The second is to introduce 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. Selective licensing in these 12 wards would likely affect around 27,000 properties.

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 if 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 Tracey Hill, lead member for Private Rented Sector on the Housing & New Homes Committee, said: “Private rented accommodation accounts for about 31% of the city’s housing. It can provide people with flexible, affordable and good quality homes, but we know that the quality of management and maintenance of the properties is inconsistent. Poor quality housing has a significant impact on people’s health and well-being.

“The proposed schemes aim to raise standards in more privately rented homes in the city 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.”

If agreed, the consultation will run from Monday 19 June to Sunday 10 September 2017 and responses to the consultations will be considered by the Housing & New Homes Committee later this year.

The full report is available in the agenda for the 14 June 2017 Housing & New Homes Committee.

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