We’re asking for your views on proposals to introduce 2 new property licensing schemes aiming to drive improvement in the city’s private rented homes.
Following agreement at the Housing & New Homes Committee on 20 September, we’re consulting on introducing a new Additional Licensing scheme for smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and a Selective Licensing Scheme for all private rented homes in certain areas.
While many landlords run their properties responsibly, issues reported through the council show that management, standards and quality of private rented homes aren’t consistent.
Private sector licensing gives councils the ability to set conditions on property management and maintenance standards and allows enforcement action to be taken where requirements aren’t met.
Mandatory HMO licensing covers all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that accommodate 5 people or more over 2 households or more.
Additional and selective licensing are schemes local authorities can introduce to address issues such as poor management standards and poor property conditions.
Additional HMO Licensing
The proposed Additional Licensing scheme would cover smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), with fewer households than Mandatory Licensed HMOs.
The 5 year term of the city’s previous city-wide Additional HMO Licensing Scheme came to an end earlier this year.
This additional licensing scheme covered around 1,900 HMOs across the city, and allowed us to work closely with landlords to improve properties.
A number of licence conditions were set through the scheme, resulting in improvements made to management, building and safety standards that benefitted around 5,500 tenants.
A Selective Licensing scheme is initially proposed in 4 wards where evidence demonstrates a clear link between poor property conditions, deprivation and private rented homes.
The initial wards covered are Kemptown, Moulsecoomb & Bevendean, Queens Park and Whitehawk & Marina.
The proposal also covers the option of introducing a further Selective Licensing Scheme covering 13 wards in the city on the grounds of poor property conditions.
These wards are Brunswick & Adelaide, Central Hove, Goldsmid, Hanover & Elm Grove, Hollingdean & Fiveways, Preston Park, Regency, Rottingdean & West Saltdean, Round Hill, South Portslade, West Hill & North Laine, Westbourne & Poets Corner and Wish.
If approved, Selective Licensing in these 13 wards would form a second phase of the scheme and would be subject to approval by the Secretary of State.
Have your say
The consultations are open until Wednesday 3 January 2024.
Feedback from the consultation will then be fed into a report back to the Housing Committee for a decision on whether to introduce the schemes.
A budget would also need to be identified to cover the cost of setting up the schemes if the decision is made to go ahead.
Improving private rented homes
Councillor Gill Williams, chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, said:
“As part of our plans for a better Brighton & Hove for all, we are keen to raise standards in privately rented homes in the city to make sure that all tenants in the sector live in safe, healthy and well-managed homes.
“Private rented accommodation is an important part of the city’s housing mix and can provide people with flexible and decent homes.
“But we often hear from residents about their poor experiences and know the quality of management and maintenance is inconsistent.
“These proposed licensing schemes aim to help tackle the problem of landlords who fail to manage and maintain their properties.
“They also benefit landlords by putting us in a better position to help them improve and maintain their properties - it's not just about the problem landlords.
“We’re very keen to hear from private sector tenants, landlords, letting agents and everyone else who has an interest. Please do share your views.”