Drug dealers take advantage of Brighton party houses

Stock picture of white powder by Nightlife of Revelry on Flickr

An increasing number of holiday lets in Brighton and Hove are being used for illegal activities.

The warning from Sussex Police appears in a report into issues with holiday lets going before the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee (TECC) meeting on Thursday 5 March.

The report said that some properties in the city were being used for drug supply.

In the past two years Brighton and Hove City Council’s environmental protection team has received 12 complaints about noise from holiday lets.

A further two complaints went to the council’s anti-social behaviour and casework team.

Currently homes can be used for short-term holiday lets and still be classified for residential use under planning law.

There is no register of holiday lets in the city but East Sussex Fire and Rescue has estimated that there are about 1,700 entire homes for let and a further 1,000 rooms in people’s homes.

One company said that it had 3,000 properties listed in the city, of which 60 per cent were entire houses.

There are several companies operating from Airbnb and Booking.com to small Brighton and Hove based independents.

Action that can be taken in cases of noise or nuisance include civil injunctions against the owner when a visitor is behaving anti-socially.

A noise abatement notice was served on a “party house” in Court Close, Patcham, last September.

The council can also issue community protection notices if anti-social behaviour is persistent and closure orders can be made if there is “disorderly, offensive or criminal behaviour”.

The report said: “It is recognised that while many short-term holiday lets in the city do not have a major impact on the quality of life of local residents, some of the larger properties can and have done.

“Legislation to deal with issues can be used more effectively to address some of the issues such as noise and anti-social behaviour.

“However, each case must be looked at on a case by cases basis and in some circumstances enforcement action will not be possible.

“A local registration scheme will not allow for additional enforcement powers although it will allow for a better understanding of where these properties are located.”

Councillors on the TECC committee are expected to agree that officers should use existing powers to investigate and respond to complaints about short-term holiday lets while co-ordinating with other services.

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