Brighton & Hove Council is squeezing its HMO sector even harder by introducing a tough new set of policies designed to reduce their impact on local communities.
Its City Plan Part 2 includes new guidance for those applying for planning permission as well as rules covering buying and selling HMOs.
An Article 4 direction already means that landlords need planning permission to change a house to an HMO everywhere within the city, where there are about 5,000 licensed HMOs.
The new guidance relates to both new-build HMO planning applications and changes of use to or from a single-family home to an HMO.
Applications will now only be considered where all the following criteria are met:
fewer than 20% of dwellings in the wider neighbourhood area are already in use as HMOs; the proposal does not lead to three or more HMOs immediately next to each other or in a non-HMO house being sandwiched between two HMOs; space standards and cooking and bathroom facilities are appropriate in size to the expected number of occupants. In future, landlords will be able to buy an existing small HMO and use it as a single-family dwelling without planning permission for a change of use, however if they buy a larger HMO that has housed six or more people to use as a single-family dwelling, they or the vendor will need to apply to the council for change of use.
Read more: Complete guide to renting an HMO property. Councillor David Gibson (pictured), co-chair of the housing committee, says: “City Plan Part 2 sets out better management of the supply of Houses in Multiple Occupation. I am pleased to say that City Plan Part 1 and its restrictions on HMOs have had a very noticeable impact, and this will be strengthened by the newly introduced policies in City Plan Part 2.”
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