Drive to protect private tenants in the city

Nearly a third of homes in Brighton and Hove are privately rented
Nearly a third of homes in Brighton and Hove are privately rented

The council is set to crack down on unlicensed houses with multiple occupation.

Brighton and Hove City Council is set to crack down on houses with multiple occupation (HMOs), which do not have a licence, in a move which it says will protect tenants.

A HMO is a house or flat which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more “households” and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet - and these properties should have a licence.

The city council’s “crackdown” is in response to the rising number of tenants seeking advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as the high number of privately rented properties in the city. The private rented sector accounts for 28 per cent of housing in Brighton and Hove, compared to the national average of 15 per cent. Landlords with HMOs must be granted a licence by the council, and abide by rules including annual gas checks, fire safety measures, and an agreement to undergo general maintenance.

Cllr Tracey Hill, lead member for private rented sector housing, said: “I am talking directly with community groups in the Lewes Road academic corridor so that the council can better support residents addressing problems with unauthorised HMOs and issues with landlords and tenants. The council is also in dialogue with the universities about the pressure on housing supply, and would like to see the universities working as closely as possible with us on student housing.”

“A recent review of HMO licensing revealed that 95 per cent of properties did not meet the fire safety conditions required by the licence. In recent weeks there were two significant fines for landlords who had not licensed their HMOs.

“It’s clear that the council cannot act alone to improve the private rented sector: continued partnership working is vital. Housing-related organisations across the city are coming together to form a working party, with the first meeting to be held on January 27. This working party can consider other initiatives that might help the private rented sector.”

For a factsheet explaining HMO licensing to tenants, visit: