Fourth student landlord told to convert shared house back to family home

Posted On 16 Jun 2016 at 10:48 am

A Brighton landlord has been told to stop letting a family home to students – the fourth since new rules over shared houses in the city were introduced.
St Mary Magdalene Street lighter
Last December, Laura Dwyer-Smith was refused retrospective council planning permission to continue using 22 St Mary Magdalene Street as a four-bed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). It had been let to students since September 1, according to her planning application.

The authority said the tenancy breached local powers applying in five council wards designed to stop over-concentration of student homes in any given location. Rules specify that new houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) will not be allowed where it would take the proportion of HMOs within 50 metres to over 10 per cent.

The landlord appealed against refusal, leaving a final decision to the Planning Inspectorate’s Andrew Steen. In his judgement Mr Steen said the change of use would mean at least 10 per cent of homes within 50 metres would be HMOs. This, he added, would breach council planning policies designed to prevent noise and disturbance and promote a healthy mixed community.

It means the house cannot now be used as an HMO after September 7.

Last month another planning inspector backed a council enforcement action over a student house at 21 Upper Wellington Road, Brighton. It must cease as an HMO by August 20.

And last year, two properties in Bernard Road were also told to convert back into family homes – although one, at 17 Bernard Road, is now the subject of an appeal after permission was refused to use it as a small HMO rather than a large one. Students are still living there and paying about £3,000 a month in rent to landlords Mr and Mrs Donald Rayward.

Planning committee chair Councillor Julie Cattell said: “It’s encouraging to have the Inspectorate’s support for the second time in two months. The universities make a major contribution to our economy and culture.

“But those benefits are easily undermined for residents if we allow over-concentrations of students to change the character of individual streets.”

In April 2013 the council assumed special powers meaning landlords need planning permission to convert homes to HMOs in five council wards. These are Hanover and Elm Grove, Hollingdean and Stanmer, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Queen’s Park and St Peter’s and North Laine.

A small HMO is defined as a property let to between three and six unrelated people sharing facilities. Such premises also need a licence from the environmental health department in 12 council wards. More information is on the council’s website: HMOs and planning, plus HMOs and licensing.

  1. Micky Reply

    What this article conveniently understates is that HMOs refer to all sharers professionals and graduates. Article 4 is pushing up rents. With a huge population of young single people more than 10% of population this policy is simply creating a housing crisis. All under the disguise of controlling student housing to push a green/labour policy of building student halls on land that should be used for local housing. Young professionals need to wake up to this senseless politics before being priced out of the 10% availability. I am amazed the media has not cottoned onto this adverse affect. Still if you have the licence great for your rental income and house price.

  2. FindersKeepers Reply

    I find it quite funny that Mrs Dwyer-Smith is the wife of Craig Dwyer-Smith, owner of D&L Property Maintenance…………….who specialise in……….according their signwritten vans…………HMO conversions across Sussex.

  3. Hovelassies Reply

    Fascist demographic engineering. Students and professional sharers are being victimized. If Julie Cattell spoke about blacks or Jews or gays like that she would be jailed. There is no place whatsoever for such dark practice in a modern 21st century English city. This policy is also pushing up rents and leading to under occupation of small HMOs. 3 bed places now being rented to 2 people…. It is evil. It is madness.

  4. ALex Reply

    The housing department, which issues HMO licences, and Planning are not aligned. Up to 400 HMO licences have been issued in the last 5 years that do not meet the 10% 50 metre rule. Housing does not care and planning does not know the licences have been issued. If planning got their act together there would by hundreds of HMO licences revoked and many more hundreds of students looking for houses to rent. This is already driving up rent and demand as some landlords only rent 2 not 3 rooms in a house. Crazy.

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