Brighton and Hove Council have ordered the closure of two student houses on planning grounds.
The landlords operating two multi-occupied properties in question, both situated in the Lewes Road area, have been ordered to close them down. This brings the total number of HMOs closed in the past two months in Brighton and Hove to four.
Landlords challenged the council’s decision but on appeal the decision went the council’s way when the government planning inspectors backed it.
Following the decision the “HMOs” at 45 Newmarket Road and 69 Ewhurst Road currently housing six students each will be returned to single family homes.
In addition to these, two more student houses in the Brighton area have been ordered to close by a government planning inspector, bringing the total to four such cases in the last two months.
Using special local powers, Brighton requires planning permission in five parts of the borough to convert a family home into an HMO.
In each of the cases above the landlord appealed to the government’s Planning Inspectorate, but were turned down on planning policy and on nuisance grounds, the latter because local residents had complained of disturbances and noise nuisance.
Policy rules in the borough state that if more than 10% of properties within 50m of the application site are already HMOs, then permission will not be granted. At one of the sites, the council said that over 28% of properties within 50m were in fact HMOs, whilst at another the figure was 26%.
Councils up and down the country are concerned about the growth in the popularity of HMOs and have brought in planning policies to preserve the character of their residential areas. It’s felt that a high proportion of HMOs can have too big an impact on the attractiveness of the surrounding areas, devaluing property prices.