Tougher rules agreed to restrict growth of student houses across Brighton and Hove

Restrictions on new shared houses across Brighton and Hove have been given the go ahead by councillors.

Members of the Brighton and Hove City Council Tourism, Development and Culture Committee unanimously agreed to introduce an “Article 4” restriction on houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) across the entire city.

Six years ago, in January 2013, the first restrictions were brought in to prevent home owners from using “permitted development rights” to turn their properties into shared houses without planning permission.

The rule change currently affects five wards – Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Hollingdean and Stanmer, Hanover and Elm Grove, Queen’s Park and St Peter’s and North Laine.

Now home owners across Brighton and Hove will not be allowed to turn their property into a shared house when more than 10 per cent of homes within a 50-metre radius are already classed as an HMO.

Concern has grown at the increasing numbers of shared homes in the East Brighton, Preston Park and Withdean wards.

Former Planning Committee chair, Phélim Mac Cafferty, a Green councillor, asked if the government might oppose the change, as he recalled in 2013, how councillors had wanted to put forward city-wide restrictions.

In response, council officer Steve Tremlett said that there should be no issues with ministers as there were now significantly more shared houses in the city.

There are also city-wide restrictions in Southampton, Portsmouth and Manchester – all university cities like Brighton and Hove.

Current Planning Committee chair, Labour councillor Julie Cattell, who represents Preston Park ward, said that she was really pleased to see the restricted area widened.

She said: “I know there will be some very delighted people in my ward.

“We have the darkest brown coloured section in the map (of HMO density) due to overspill from St Peter’s and North Laine ward.”

  1. SamC Reply

    Demographic engineering is dark and belongs in a 1930s fascist state. Not in 21st Century Britain. Seeking to manipulate the demographic distribution of an unprotected minority (students and young people who wish to share a home) is evil. If it was black people, gay people, Egyptians, Chinese, Jews, Muslims or disabled it such activity would be illegal.

    • Simon King Reply

      You should try living next door to students?
      They’re not unpleasant!
      Just noisy all night!

    • Nick Reply

      You forgot Christians in your list or are they not a minority? Try living next to students as I do and I guarantee after a couple of months you will want restrictions.

  2. Alex Reply

    Since when do people “turn their property into a shared house”… sometimes houses are rented by families, sometimes by sharers, and this can change as tenancies change. The relationship among people who chose to live together should make no difference to who is and is not allowed to share a home. Especially when we have a housing crisis. Do landlords have to police and verify the nature of interpersonal relationships of tenants? How intrusive. Surely it is unlawful

    • Simon Reply

      It’s been the law for a few years now that hopuses shared by people who are not part of the same family need an HMO licence.

  3. Pingback: Tougher rules agreed to restrict growth of student houses | Southdown Rise Residents Association

  4. Shivmaliv Reply

    Too late for Barnett road in hollingdean that is already 80 per cent above the recommended hmo allowance. It’s a residential road suitable for young families with good schools nearby but it’s also like the film bad neighbour with the weekly frat/student parties going on until the mornings. Some of us residents do shift work and have babies sleeping. I’m all for students sharing just not keeping all our babies awake every weekend with parties.

  5. Amy Shaer Reply

    I’ve lived in Brighton for ten years now, never as a student, but always in shared housing. I get paid living wage not even minimum and I still can’t afford a one bedroom flat on my own. You want to cut down on shared housing, maybe start capping rents instead of penalising people who have no choice. HMOs aren’t just for students.

    • Sally Reply

      Hear Hear… Brighton has a huge economy that involves many young people who do not earn enough to rent their own flats and want to share houses (digital, hospitality, hospitals etc.) We need MORE sharing accommodation in the city, not less. Many, many nurses live in share houses in areas around the hospital and in Hove… This a a very ill-conceived proposal that will have dreadful ramifications for people like me.

  6. Simon King Reply

    140 new student rooms being built in Hollingdean Road.
    More congestion!
    The flats all around the Vogue girotory – students!
    More congestion!
    Preston Baracks. Students!
    More congestion!
    Bentham Road off Elm Grove – half of it, students! More congestion!
    I haven’t even mentioned yet Lewes Road, Bevendean, Moulsecoomb etc etc etc?
    We are paying a heavy price for turning the Brighton Poly into a University?
    Overcrowded buses!
    Lack of parking spaces!
    Lewes Road, where there were once sweet shops, toy shops, knitting shops, locksmiths, furniture shops etc etc etc, are all take aways, wines & spirits on every corner, and letting agents. Why?
    You can always tell a student house?
    Piles of take away boxes and empty wine bottles outside on the pavements!
    And the lack of property is pushing up the price of houses so they’re too expensive to let or rent for people who work in Brighton!
    I knew we’d pay a high price for two universities.
    And I was right!

    • Rikki Reply

      Well said. Totally agree with everything. I live in Lewes road, nr Preston barracks and the impact on the road is bad at the moment and will get worse!!

  7. Mimi Reply

    One of the consequences of the Article 4 legislation that has already been implemented in some wards of the city is under-occupation of 3 bedroom terraced houses. Typically the “smaller” single room in 3-bed terraced houses is relatively cheap rent. Many of these rooms are not unoccupied because only 2 people can live in the house without an HMO licence (and the room is too small to qualify for an HMO licence). Look at the ads on Rightmove – 3 bed house, 2 sharers only. This has actually increased per capita rental because there are not enough properties. Housing crisis, homelessness and there are many, many decent smaller 3rd bedrooms not being used effectively in this city. BHCC contributes to the crisis with this short-sighted measure.

  8. Bryan Reply

    Student housing should limited to certain areas that need the income such as mouslcombe portslade Whitehawk. I think it shouldn’t be allowed in Brighton centre or hove. These areas should be kept for professionals. Some of these grim student houses bring down the value for home owners which is outrageous

  9. Sophie Reply

    Student homes better than scary families on benefits

  10. Luke 1 Reply

    Stop building student houses and affordable housing and build some high end houses and flats for commuters. We get forgotten

  11. Jill Ayton Reply

    The comment on unused third bedrooms is very true, and they are not always small. It’s crazy that a noisy family with 3 or 4 children can rent a house but not 3 students, nurses, professionals. Better enforcement of noise nuisance and littering would achieve more. I suspect the Council have voted this in to obtain more money for their coffers as the cost of a licence is very expensive!

  12. Tony Reply

    The cost of a licence is negligible (you can check this on the councils website) – but the landlord of a house built for a family (three bedrooms), converting it into seven bedrooms can command around £32,000 a year in rent. Makes the licence look like pocket change doesn’t it – and there will be less of them not more!

    The council has done this to protect areas from blight of noise, nuisance and ruining of residential areas.

    Not all students are a nuisance but many are and with council changes to noise patrols those that are may only get worse. Oh and don’t forget students do not pay council tax so the more houses that get converted the more you need to pay!

    Well done BHCC – thank you for listening

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