HMO update June 2018

Full version as PDF

Its a very full, useful and detailed information sheet.

Here is an extract, the full report is available as a pdf:

HMO BULLETIN June 2018 Working for safe, well-managed housing and friendly residential communities welcoming to all From Cllr Tracey Hill, lead councillor for private rented housing on Brighton & Hove City Council (tracey.hill@brighton-hove.gov.uk)

HMO Forum meeting 23rd May
Thanks to all LAT and Residents Association representatives who came to the meeting in May. We had a full house at 91 Lewes Road, thanks to Sussex University for hosting it. Most items discussed are covered elsewhere in this bumper edition of the Bulletin, but we also had a Round Robin and these were raised by the various groups:

Triangle area – are seeing a lot of tagging, and also poor maintenance of houses. Waste bins that are not big enough for all the tenants. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure there is adequate provision for refuse and recycling, although CityClean provides the actual bins and bigger bins can be requested from CityClean. We are coming up to the end of the academic year, and the universities actively encourage students to drop unwanted stuff off at drop points where they can be reused rather than throwing them out. Landlords will be reminded of their responsibilities also (fly-tipped bulky waste including mattresses etc from a student house is likely to be the landlord, not the tenants). There is a landlord newsletter planned but this will only go to landlords on the HMO register who have opted in by the new GDPR regulations.
There was a suggestion of a voluntary “community contribution” from landlords towards the general upkeep and maintenance of the local area.

Moulsecoomb – council tenants are feeling trapped and increasingly outnumbered. There is a particular issue with bins on pavements.
Bins on pavements is also an issue in Newmarket Road. The university contacts (see last page of this) are happy to approach households to remind them to take bins in, if it’s a student house.

London Road – new communal bins should be better for Viaduct Road where refuse has been an issue for a long time. Some properties are very badly maintained on the exterior.

We are meeting twice a year, so the next meeting will be around October.

City Plan Part 2 – possible HMO rule proposals
The next meeting of the Tourism, Development and Culture committee is on June 21st. The committee will be discussing proposals for Part 2 of the City Plan, leading to a public consultation. We are expecting new proposals to tighten the management of HMO proliferation, in addition to the rule that we have already (which is that permission is refused if more than 10% of households within 50m are already HMOs).

The papers are due to be published next week and will be found here: https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=969&MId=9185&Ver=4

Once this is finalised I’ll be in touch with the LATs and residents associations to make sure you are aware and can hopefully help to spread the word and can ensure a good response to the consultation.

Planning register update

The council’s planning register has had a software upgrade. This means there’s a lot more functionality, and you can see planning applications and enforcement notices for a given property in the same place. The new link is here: https://planningapps.brighton-hove.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do?action=simple
On the Advanced tab you can search for appeals and enforcements as well as applications, and you can also filter by ward and date. On other tabs, you can access weekly or monthly lists of applications or decisions, and view applications, appeals and enforcements on a map. I think this is a great step forward, particularly for viewing enforcements. Let me know what you think.

Head leasing
As you may know, the way in which HMO planning rules is being applied has changed, so that a property of up to six people which is directly managed by an educational institution is not considered an HMO by the planning department. This means that there is potential for developers to approach the universities (and other establishments) an offer properties for direct management in order to circumvent the 10% threshold and other planning rules.
I have raised concerns about this with both universities. There have been some properties which have been taken on by the University of Sussex which would not have been given planning permission, and indeed one property which was specifically refused planning permission for HMO use but is now being head leased.

I met with senior officers at Sussex recently and explained why it was so important that the planning status should be checked before a property is taken on – and not just whether it has or needs permission, but whether it would get permission if it were an HMO and not head leased.

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