Example letter to Estate Agents regarding HMO restrictions Feb 2017

Dear owner of X [Road]

I am a local Councillor for the Hollingdean and Stanmer ward. I am writing as I understand you are the owner of X [Road] which has until now been a family house.

I wanted to make sure you were aware of the planning restrictions that exist in this area. The ward of Hollingdean and Stanmer is covered by an Article 4 planning direction which means that a change of use from residential to a small house in multiple occupation (HMO) would require planning permission. This would include a property where three to six unrelated people are living. Larger HMOs also need planning permission.

That is just my understanding, and there are more details on the Council’s website (www.brighton-hove.gov.uk).

Whether planning permission will be given partly depends on how many other HMOs are within the immediate area. If there is already a number of HMOs nearby, planning permission may well be refused. [IF TRUE: Other planning applications of this type on [Road] have been refused in the past.]

There have been some cases recently where properties which do not have planning permission have been marketed as HMOs, with the result that the tenants have had to move out unexpectedly. The Council has recently written to all letting agents in the city asking them to ensure they know whether the properties they are marketing have planning consent, and to pass this information on to potential tenants. Failure to pass on this material information to tenants could constitute a criminal offence under consumer protection legislation.

There is a lot of concern amongst residents in this area about the number of HMOs. I wanted to make you aware of this, because if a resident thinks that a property is being used as an HMO without permission, it is likely that they will make a complaint to the Council, which could result in an investigation.

I hope this is helpful and if you do need more detail please do look at the Council’s website where there is a lot more information.

Best wishes

Tracey Hill

Labour and Co-operative Councillor for Hollingdean and Stanmer ward

Deputy Chair of Housing & New Homes Committee

Lead Councillor for Private Rented Sector Housing

Brighton and Hove City Council

01273 291437