Hove beach hut owners face having to pay a 10 per cent transfer fee under proposals that the council plans to bring in from next spring.
It is not the first time that Brighton and Hove City Council has proposed bringing in a percentage-based transfer tax when beach huts are sold.
At the start of the year the transfer fee was £82 and the annual licence was £457 and due to go up 5 per cent to £480.
The council said: “Hove beach hut owners are currently being consulted on changes to their licence fee by the council.
“The council is proposing to modernise the beach hut licence issued to owners who place their beach hut on council land on Hove seafront.
“The new licence will include a 10 per cent transfer fee which will be payable to the council on the sale of the beach hut and include a clear prohibition on hiring out beach huts.
“There are 459 beach huts on Hove seafront that are privately owned by Brighton and Hove residents.
“Over the last 10 years, the value of a beach hut on the seafront has risen well above inflation and more in line with the increases in the local property market.
“Huts for sale can regularly range in price between £25,000 and £35,000 depending on the location and the condition of the hut.
“Other neighbouring authorities charge a transfer fee which is linked to the sale price of the beach hut including Adur and Worthing Councils. Adur charges a 10 per cent transfer fee as does Rother District Council.
“Many coastal councils also charge more for the annual licence fee. Worthing and Adur charge between £612 and £810 per annum. Rother District Council charges £650 and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council charges £1, 090. Brighton and Hove charged £503.60 including VAT for 2023-24.
“The introduction of the transfer fee is being proposed in lieu of increasing the annual licence fee charge.”
Councillor Alan Robins, who chairs the council’s Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Economic Development Committee, said: “The Hove beach huts are an iconic part of our seafront and character of the city.
“We know beach hut owners take great pride in maintaining the huts all year round and they do a fantastic job.
“The proposed changes will allow us to keep the yearly licence fee payment the same and puts us in line with other local authorities along the coast.
“Currently the council is not benefiting in any way from the profit made on the sale of a beach hut when most of the value is due to its prime position on the seafront.
“If the transfer fee is introduced, then the additional revenue can be reinvested back into seafront services such as our lifeguards.
“It’s an extremely challenging time for local government finances and the potential income will go towards providing essential life-saving services while offering council land for hut owners to enjoy the seafront.”
A report is due to be presented to the Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Economic Development Committee next month, with an update on the consultation and recommendations.
The new licences would take effect from Monday 1 April 2024.