Lettings scheme aims to tackle student problems in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 13 Feb 2011 at 11:54 pm

The council and one of the two universities are setting up a joint “social lettings agency” in Brighton and Hove.

The aim is to tackle student housing problems, improve standards and provide better value for money.

Those behind the scheme want to “place” families and students to ensure a more balanced community.

Brighton and Hove City Council and Brighton University are teaming up with a view to offering long-term contracts to landlords to make the scheme attractive to them.

Landlords would also receive a guaranteed rent under the scheme and would manage the lettings process.

The council said: “Targeted neighbourhoods will benefit from these combined resources to effectively deal with housing management including aspects of anti-social behaviour that can arise.”

The scheme is part of the council’s evolving student housing strategy and its efforts to improve conditions in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The council already operates the mandatory licensing scheme for larger HMOs.

It is currently consulting on the introduction of licensing for smaller HMOs.

This would affect houses of two or more storeys, such as a family home, with three or more occupants in the wards most popular with students.

Originally, the consultation involved three wards –  Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Hanover and Elm Grove and St Peter’s and North Laine.

At the request of the Greens two more wards have been added – Hollingdean and Stanmer and Queen’s Park

Thriving

The council said: “These are wards with the highest concentrations of smaller HMOs, including student HMOs, as identified in last year’s Student Housing Strategy action plan.”

Maria Caulfield, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We want thriving communities where families and students live happily side by side.

“Students are a hugely beneficial facet to the city both economically and culturally.

“And to ensure harmonious neighbourhoods we aim to prevent tensions between students and residents caused by serious issues such as noise and litter.

“This strategy is designed to do just that and it represents good value for money for everyone.

Councillor Caulfield, who represents Moulsecoomb and Bevendean for the Conservatives, added: “Additional licensing of smaller HMOs is intended to improve conditions for occupiers and ensure landlords engage more actively in terms of enforcing tenancy conditions because of anti-social behaviour.”

Julie Barker, Brighton University’s head of residential and catering services, said: “Through the ongoing work between ourselves and the council it became apparent that we were both competing for the same landlords.

“Joining forces and bringing together the resources and the expertise of teams both within the council and the university will bring mutual benefits not just to both organisations but also benefits to the city with a more coherent approach to student housing.”

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