Crackdown on shared houses across Brighton and Hove to start within months

Restrictions on new shared houses across Brighton and Hove will come into force in the summer.

A proposal to tighten the rules won unanimous support from a council committee which voted to bring in a citywide “article four direction”.

The move will cover houses rented by three people or more who are not related but share facilities such as a bathroom and kitchen.

An “article four direction” currently covers five electoral wards in Brighton where student demand has led to a big rise in the number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Once the citywide rule change takes effect, planning permission would be required to turn a family home into a shared house.

Permission will only be granted if fewer than 10 per cent of homes within a 50-metre radius are already HMOs.

Conservative councillor Dee Simson said that something should have been done sooner as the increasing number of shared houses was “changing the nature of the city”.

She shared her own experience of living opposite a house shared by young professionals in Woodingdean.

Councillor Simson told the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee: “A bungalow opposite me that my grandfather built, that was a two-bedroomed tiny little bungalow … two bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and front room … now it’s a seven-bedroom house. It takes up the whole site.

“Next door there’s another one. This is not student accommodation. It’s professionals. I know they need accommodation but those two properties have changed the nature of the road.

“This was planned as a small family cul-de-sac. The person who owns that house opposite is getting £4,000 a month in rent as opposed to £1,000 from a family.”

She told the committee on Thursday (16 January) that she understood the problems in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean with student housing and hoped that the citywide rule change would prevent a creep across the city.

Green councillor Steph Powell said that there had been great challenges with increasing numbers of shared houses in the city.

She said: “This will make an impact in Hanover and Elm Grove. The sadness of it all is we can’t do anything about the HMOs approved before this.”

Labour councillor Nick Childs said that the move was a “significant step forward” to regulating shared houses to prevent the deterioration of areas.

He said: “The situation with HMOs in my view is a symptom of a broken housing market.”

Since 1979, he said, “there has been a virtual stagnation of social house building, a scrapping of proper rent and tenancy regulation and incentives given to people to invest in property.”

He said that landlords were able to extract the maximum amount of profit without offering social value.

The rule change was approved by the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee at Hove Town Hall on Thursday (16 January).

  1. Gavin Rooney Reply

    House shares are the only way lots of people can afford live in Brighton due to the ridiculously high rents and low wages many indure.. this discrimination by those fortunate enough to own there properties.. obviously more affordable housing would help alleviate this issue but that would require the council to put the welfare of its citizens first rather than lining their own pockets as usual

  2. Rolivan Reply

    Will this cause the increase of current HMOs to increase in value?

  3. A Reply

    Why do families get a better deal? And get to be arsey about it? What about all those single people who don’t want to pay a stupid amount for a room in a share house, miles away in woodingdean? It’s not like there’s any other choice.

  4. Sammy Reply

    The blatantly discriminatory attitude of the council to young people who cannot afford to rent or own their own homes is despicable. We are not less entitled to housing than anyone else. Families do not have some divine right to housing over and above young people who NEED to share properties to be able to keep a roof over their heads. “This was planned as a small family cul-de-sac”. If the same blatant discrimination was shown on the basis of race or religion she would be prosecuted. There is no place for the “we don’t want your type here” attitude being reflected in council policy. This discriminatory, elitist policy will come back to haunt BHCC without any doubt whatsoever. Some landlords are renting 3 bed houses to 2 people and they are getting just as much rent because of the housing shortage. The policy in 5 wards has already driven up rents.

    • Matt Reply

      I find it amazing you are tolerating the HMO landlords who are exploiting you and forcing you to live in cramped spaces and having no say who you have to live with you.

  5. Tina Turner Reply

    Too little too late, should have done this before the student epidemic

    • Sally savage Reply

      Too little to late. The city has already been taken over by students, destroying communities, increasing rents. Most people that can afford it have moved out. Have the council just realised students don’t pay tax and their income is dropping!

  6. Carmel Turquand Reply

    Myself my daughter and my other daughter,fiance and two children all live with me as it’s so difficult to find any social housing for them to start there first family home. I have a 3 bed house with a small living room and kitchen/diner and the council are telling them that she’s adequately housed and took her off homemove wiping out any hope they may of had for an affordable home. Two cots and a double bed in one room with some furniture for clothes!!!yeah ok!!!wont do a homevisit either on invitation ! Swings and bloody roundabouts x one rule for one and one for another x oh and the fiance works as do I x disappointed x gutted and sad!also brighton born and bred x

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