Plans to improve rented housing in Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove
Brighton and Hove

Councillors in Brighton and Hove are to discuss two schemes aimed at improving conditions in private rented housing next week.

The housing and new homes committee will meet on Wednesday, June 14, and is expected to agree a consultations on the schemes.

The first proposal is to extend a licensing scheme for smaller houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) affecting 500 homes. Mandatory licensing already 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.

The second initiative is to introduce a new ‘selective licensing scheme’ for private rented homes not covered by HMO rules 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 is expected to affect around 27,000 properties.

Brighton and Hove City Council said evidence from current HMO licensing in Brighton and Hove shows that almost 90 per cent 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, the council said.

Councillor Tracey Hill, lead member for the private rented sector on the housing and new homes committee, said: “Private rented accommodation accounts for about 31 per cent 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, June 19 to Sunday, September 10, and responses to the consultations will be considered by the housing and new homes committee later this year.

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