Brighton has highest rate of private rental homes outside London

Posted On 10 Jan 2023 at 2:20 pm

by Bob Prosser on Flickr

Almost one in three Brighton and Hove homes are privately rented, the highest rate outside London, new census figures show.

The city’s housing market also has the highest proportion of one-bedroom households (24.7 per cent) and the lowest of whole houses or bungalows (49.9 per cent) in England and Wales outside the capital.

The occupancy data suggests that 4.4 per cent of the city’s homes are over-occupied based on the number of bedrooms per resident, with 40.7 per cent having the ideal number of bedrooms and 54.8 per cent being under-occupied.

When calculated against the total number of rooms rather than just bedrooms, this rises to an over-occupancy rate of 11.5 per cent – possibly due to the number of HMOs and studio flats.

Of the rest, 50 per cent are flats and 0.1 per cent caravans or other temporary structures.

Tenure responses show that 25.1 per cent of houses are owned outright, 27.2 per cent owned with a mortgage, loan or shared ownership, 14.9 per cent are socially rented (9.5 per cent from the council) and 32.9 per cent are privately rented or living rent-free.

The house breakdown is 10.3 per cent detached or bungalows, 19.7 per cent semi-detached and 19.8 per cent terraced.

Of all homes, 31.2 per cent have two bedrooms, 26.1 per cent have three bedrooms and 18.1 per cent have four or more.

A spokesman for Acorn, a union which represents private tenants, said: “The huge number of Brighton & Hove residents in rental accommodation highlights the need for urgent action from the Council to protect renters from rogue landlords.

“With such a premium on housing in the city, renters are left vulnerable to outrageous fees and dodgy landlords, with little or no security or protection provided by the authorities. This must change.”

And it has the highest rate of households without a car or van in the south outside London – although this has fallen slightly since the last census, from 38.2 per cent to 37.4 per cent.

However, the total number of households responding to the census fell slightly, from 126,827 to 121,402 – but this is almost certainly because it was conducted in 2021 during lockdown, when many students were not at university.

Lockdown also means that data on how people were travelling to work then is hugely different to the previous census in 2011.

Back then, 37.2 per cent were driving to work, 20.6 per cent walking, 4.9 per cent cycling and 4.5 per cent getting the bus. Just 7.6 per cent were working from home.

In March 2021, when the government was still telling people to work from home where possible, the number of respondents doing so had jumped more than fivefold to 42.7 per cent.

Of those still going into work, 2.5 per cent took the train, 7.1 per cent took the bus, 27.3 per cent drove or were driven 3.8 per cent cycled and 14.3v walked.

Roddy Crockett, partnerships and public affairs manager for the south east of England at Sustrans said: “We should continue to make Brighton and Hove a place where everyone can thrive without needing access to a car for essential day to day travel.

“For example, we have Sustrans Bike-It Officers who help support young people to travel independently to school.

“Cheaper bus tickets, car clubs, bike hangars and safer walking and cycling routes all make it easier to live in Brighton and Hove car-free.

“The more we can help households thrive without needing a car the quicker we will reach net-zero, save money and live healthier lives.”

The other question respondents answered under housing was what kind of central heating their home has. The most common type, at 75.3 per cent, is mains gas, with 11.9 per cent having electric only, and 2.3 per cent have no central heating.

Just 0.2 per cent responding have purely renewable central heating, but another 0.4 per cent have some kind of renewable heating and 1.6 per cent are part of a district or communal heat network.

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