Property owners could find it harder to turn family homes into shared houses if a rule change is approved this week.
The move is a response to the spread of shared houses – also known as “houses in multiple occupation” (HMOs) – beyond the areas closest to the two universities.
Brighton and Hove City Council carried out a consultation about the proposed rule change, with more than 260 people responding – and the vast majority supporting the move.
A report to councillors said that people wanted the measure – known as an “article four direction” – because of the “negative effect” of shared houses, including noise and anti-social behaviour.
Some blamed the growth of shared houses for the shortage of family homes in Brighton and Hove.
But there were also concerns that what some regard as a crackdown on student houses could make it even harder for young professionals and low-paid workers to find somewhere affordable to rent.
The “article four direction” would require property owners to have planning permission before turning a family home into a shared house.
Five council wards are already covered by an existing article four direction – Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Hanover and Elm Grove, Hollingdean and Stanmer, Queen’s Park and St Peter’s and North Laine.
The rule change would cover any house rented by three people or more who are not related but share facilities such as a bathroom and kitchen.
And in Brighton and Hove it would mean that planning permission would be refused where 10 per cent of homes or more within a 50-metre radius were already HMOs.
A report on the proposal said: “It is important to note that an extension of the article four direction will not, and is not intended to, halt further HMO development.
“Rather, the direction and the current and emerging City Plan policies would give the city council greater ability to better manage the outcome of change of use applications across the city through the planning process in order to help maintain balanced and sustainable communities.
“The intended result is a more even spread of HMOs. In those parts of the city where there are low HMO concentrations it is expected that the number of applications will be relatively low and those that are received are likely to be approved.”
The proposal to adopt a city-wide article four direction is due to come before the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee on Thursday (16 January).
The meeting is scheduled to start at 4pm at Hove Town Hall and should be open to the public.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.