Brighton and Hove Council are now proposing to extend the existing Article 4 Direction. It will now apply to more HMO properties (Houses in Multiple Occupation) throughout the Brighton and Hove area.
An Article 4 Direction will apply to properties smaller than seven beds. They now require planning permission to convert the house into an HMO property.
The Council has done this in five areas within the last year or so. It has already caught out a substantial amount of landlords who did not apply for the planning consent for their property.
In June 2018 the Council decided to extend the boundary in Article 4. They decided to include areas such as Preston Park, East Brighton and Regency as part of the extension. This mainly related to the student occupied areas.
They believe the proposals are fair and make the rules consistent for everyone. Providing long term services to developers and residents. Also preventing the concentration of HMO’s becoming too high before action can be taken.
We have outlined in previous articles the necessary checks for HMO licencing. These are now City wide. If the proposals go ahead then this could cause landlord’s problems in the future. The representations of local landlords and the secretary of state will inform the decision, whichever way it goes.
The local council are trying to address the high cost of housing and shortage of new homes in the area. Pushing young professional people on low incomes to live in HMOs. By doing this they ensure that there is a high demand for them also. However the concentration of HMOs could put extra pressure on community residents. The proposal is not intended to stop HMO development. Instead its intention is to give the public more say. This is by way of managing the number of applications through the planning process in certain neighbourhoods.
We appreciate that most people don’t wish to live next to students or have HMOs but how could it affect landlords?
The affect could be substantial, we would suggest that you look at the proposal immediately. You should already have an HMO licence in respect of your property. If you do not we would suggest that you do so. If your property has already been rented out as an HMO for a period of four years or more under one contract then you have prescription rights. You will need to show the Council that you have already used it as an HMO property for a period of four years and so do not require planning. If you do not have an HMO licence we suggest that you apply for one to show that you are making an effort to get up to standard. This is critical if not done already.
These proposals could affect so many people and have a detrimental effect to certain parts of the market such as three bed properties. If a landlord now has to have a licence for a three bed flat as well as planning it may put them off long term. So they only rent it out as a two bed which then reduces the market for young professionals to share. This could have a detrimental affect rather than the positive that the council are looking at. We see both sides of the argument but is it really required?