Brighton & Hove Council hopes to introduce a huge selective licensing scheme that would eventually cover 17 of the city’s 23 wards.
Councillors have given the go-ahead for a consultation into plans to introduce the scheme in areas where there is a clear link between poor property conditions, deprivation and private rented homes, in Kemptown, Moulsecoomb & Bevendean, Queens Park and Whitehawk & Marina. This would cover about 4,000 properties.
The authority also wants the option of introducing a further scheme covering 13 wards in: 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. This would cover another 19,000 properties and needs Secretary of State approval.
An additional licensing scheme has also been proposed after the previous one ended earlier this year, covering about 1,900 smaller HMOs.
A 12-week consultation is now about to begin with the first scheme potentially in place by July 2024. If agreed, the second scheme could start in summer 2025. A suggested fee of £670 would cover the five-year licence.
Councillor Gill Williams, chair of the housing & new homes committee, says: “Time and again we hear from residents about their poor experiences with landlords and uninterested letting agents, who fail to maintain their property and force tenants to live in sometimes disgusting, uninhabitable conditions. These proposed landlord licensing schemes will help tackle the problem of landlords who fail to manage and maintain their properties.”
Last November, the council introduced a tough new set of policies designed to reduce HMOs’ impact on local communities, relating to both new-build planning applications and changes of use to or from a single-family home to an HMO.