The ArgusParty house hangover for Brighton and Hove (From The Argus)

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Party house hangover for Brighton and Hove

The Argus: Women dressed up for a hen party in Brighton Women dressed up for a hen party in Brighton

Hundreds of short-term rental properties are inviting stags and hens to celebrate in the city. But while the revellers brought an estimated £15 million into the city’s economy last year, city residents say their lives are being blighted by the constant parties spreading into residential areas. Sarah Jessica Morgan and chief reporter Emily Walker report.

Families have said their lives are being made a misery by party houses.

There are now more than 500 short term rental properties – regularly referred to as “party houses” – across Brighton and Hove and residents fear they could take over without regulation to stop the spread.

Residents living in the Queen’s Park area have said the neighbourhood is the latest part of the city to be invaded by stags and hens.

They said they were regularly left to contend with late-night drinking, shouting, noise and music, without pre-warning from the property owners.

One Queen’s Park Road resident, who did not wish to be named, said she had been struggling to deal with “nightmare parties” while nursing a baby and with a husband recovering from major surgery.

She said: “Initially there were only a few parties each weekend, now we have disturbances every week.

“I can understand it’s not the hen and stag’s fault, obviously these people have paid a lot of money to stay in the houses, it’s the lack of planning by the council that is the problem.”

Karen Edwards, of South Down Mews, has a party house in her street.

She said: “At some point Brighton will tip over to become some faceless city with no local residents living in it.”

Another resident has said she has made plans to move out of the city because of the problems.

'Sold down the river'

Lorraine Waldron, who lives in the Queen’s Park Area, said: “Communities are being sold down the river, for one thing. Something has to stop.”

Alice Wright, who lives in Hove, said her life and those of her neighbours were made a nightmare when a party house was set up in a quiet mews. She said about 10 people held a party at a property and were drinking and shouting in the street.

She said: “One of our neighbours is quite elderly and he was too scared to go out. He was trapped in his flat for four days.”

Her neighbour, Dan Wilson, said that the operator, Brighton Holiday Homes, had not told anyone in the area it was going to be let as a holiday home.

He said: “It was Jubilee Weekend and the first thing we knew about it was when around 10 teenagers descended on the street. If it was a big road it wouldn’t have as much impact but this is a quiet area.”

Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, warned of the lack of regulation.

He said: “Party houses are not regulated. If you live in the wrong part of the city, night time partygoers can turn your life into a living hell.

Fire safety

Dexter Allen, of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, added that party houses did fall under fire safety legislation as they were not “domestic dwellings”.

He said: “The fire authority takes a view of supporting local economies and not over regulating or enforcing disproportionate regulation.

“These houses don’t require licences to operate, they are not HMOs [High Multiple Occupancies] because they don’t fall into the categories prescribed by the Housing Act. That is because when they operate as a party house, they become a business and we deal with them as sleeping accommodation.”

Tim Read, Brighton and Hove City Council director of environment, encouraged upset residents to report noisy stags and hens.

He said: “Hen and stag groups can be as responsive as anybody else, as are students, during our night-time work.

“If we need to knock on a door, nine times out of ten they will do exactly what you ask, they are decent people, they’re embarrassed and haven’t meant to cause a problem, some people aren’t like that, there are a small minority who will battle back.”

Weekend parties

Brighton Holiday Homes manages the largest number of self-catering homes in Brighton and Hove and accommodated more than 15,000 people last year. The company relies on an average of 1,000 hen and stag parties to flock to the city every weekend.

Managing partner Michelle Stonehill said each weekend visitor brought an average £500 into the local economy and said many residents welcomed the houses.

She said: “The neighbours of our properties have actually told us that they are pleased the houses are no longer rented out to students or sharers.

“They are glad the houses have been refurbished as they improve the area and the neighbours have no trouble at all with them being rented at weekends.”

Geoffrey Bowden, Queen’s Park councillor and chair of the Economic Development and Culture Committee, said the city’s reputation as a party destination was “part of the city, and what makes it attractive”.

He added: “There is a positive side to the groups putting sticky money into our economy, but we cannot diminish the aggravation and anxiety created in what should be family communities and those things will have to be addressed.”

‘Party houses’ are regulated and within the law

In 2011 there were estimated to be 300 “party houses” in Brighton and Hove.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service estimates there are approximately 500 short term lets in and around the city.

Brighton and Hove City Council received 3,381 noise complaints in the last financial year, of which 2,435 related to domestic cases including noisy neighbours.

Brighton Holiday Homes list 96 properties – with room for up to 27 people in each – on their website.

Crown Gardens offers another 117 properties and offers a range of “treats” to enhance the hen and stag party experience – ranging from bare bottomed butlers to burlesque and pole dancing.

A map on Crown Gardens’ website shows the houses spread across residential neighbourhoods as well as the city centre.

They describe themselves as “perfect for hen and stag groups”.

A spokesman said: “Crown Gardens Ltd is a responsible agency and does take into account the potential impact to neighbours and residents in the surrounding area.

“We take noise and antisocial behaviour complaints very seriously. Fortunately, however, these are very rare and amount to less that 0.7 per cent of more than 1,450 booking that have taken place so far this year.

“In response to noise complaints and domestic disturbances across the city, the landlords of our properties have drawn up contracts with Sussex Security Solutions, who offer a rapid response call-out service.

“We can confirm that the landlords of the Southdown Mews properties subscribe to this service and have only had cause to use this once since its inspection at the beginning of June this year.

“No complaints have been received during 2012 from the council’s environmental health department with regard to these properties.”

Party noise misery ends with two prosecutions

Only two people have ever been prosecuted in relation to party houses.

Helen Sywak and Pasqua Biscardi let their adjoining properties in Cliff Road, Brighton, to groups of revellers, who caused a repeated nuisance |to neighbours |with partying and karaoke.

The couple were fined £12,000 in February 2012 after admitting six counts each of breaching noise abatement notices issued by Brighton and Hove City Council.


Talking point: How important are party houses, hen nights and stag nights to Brighton and Hove's economy?

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Comments (28)

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1:19pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Fairfax Sakes says...

I once went to a party dressed as Little Bo Peep in stockings. It wasn't a fancy dress party or anything, but it felt good nevertheless.
I once went to a party dressed as Little Bo Peep in stockings. It wasn't a fancy dress party or anything, but it felt good nevertheless. Fairfax Sakes
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Thu 15 Nov 12

StyleCop says...

To balance the article - both companies in question don't exacly market themselves directly as HEN & STAG event organisers/target venues - in fact they both appear to be very corporate and professional - targeting the broader domestic/internation
al (and dare I say) lucrative tourist market.

I think in highlighting them in the manner you have done is doing them a disservice - irrespective of whether they do indeed have customers who treat the properties in such manners as the article suggests.

Legislation and local peoples concerns asides (which I have every sympathy for) - this article seems to be demonising two local companies who are making good in an otherwise poor economic climate - shame on you Argus.

Feel free to highlight the broader issue of irresponsible people acting irresponsibly - but to tarnish the organisations as responsible for such behaviour is journalistic sensationalism and isn't really very fair.
To balance the article - both companies in question don't exacly market themselves directly as HEN & STAG event organisers/target venues - in fact they both appear to be very corporate and professional - targeting the broader domestic/internation al (and dare I say) lucrative tourist market. I think in highlighting them in the manner you have done is doing them a disservice - irrespective of whether they do indeed have customers who treat the properties in such manners as the article suggests. Legislation and local peoples concerns asides (which I have every sympathy for) - this article seems to be demonising two local companies who are making good in an otherwise poor economic climate - shame on you Argus. Feel free to highlight the broader issue of irresponsible people acting irresponsibly - but to tarnish the organisations as responsible for such behaviour is journalistic sensationalism and isn't really very fair. StyleCop
  • Score: 0

3:49pm Thu 15 Nov 12

NickBtn says...

The council's new additional licencing for shared houses (domestic houses style with 3 or more people sharing) is likely to encourage more landlords to change to party houses

They either stay providing shared houses and pay a licence (around £600) plus things like large kitchen (and any costs to do this), mains smoke detectors etc or change to this without any apparent regulation. These party houses must be more of a fire risk than regular shared houses - people who are unfamiliar and drunk....

The regulations make no sense!
The council's new additional licencing for shared houses (domestic houses style with 3 or more people sharing) is likely to encourage more landlords to change to party houses They either stay providing shared houses and pay a licence (around £600) plus things like large kitchen (and any costs to do this), mains smoke detectors etc or change to this without any apparent regulation. These party houses must be more of a fire risk than regular shared houses - people who are unfamiliar and drunk.... The regulations make no sense! NickBtn
  • Score: 0

3:59pm Thu 15 Nov 12

SmileyD says...

Oh dear! - I certainly don't fancy yours very much...
Oh dear! - I certainly don't fancy yours very much... SmileyD
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Thu 15 Nov 12

bug eye says...

we are a tourist city, who has not rented a holiday home when taking a holiday. moan moan moan. the whole hmo licensing is a joke anyway, only in certain wards and only for sharers, that sounds like discrimination to me. there are already laws and regulations in place for safe houses and flats whether rented to families sharers or holidaymakers. more red tape bureaucracy and legislation will only lead to higher rents and different problems. clearly the council do not seem to think families are at risk but then that would mean they would have to put their own houses in order, and its social housing where most problems occur.
we are a tourist city, who has not rented a holiday home when taking a holiday. moan moan moan. the whole hmo licensing is a joke anyway, only in certain wards and only for sharers, that sounds like discrimination to me. there are already laws and regulations in place for safe houses and flats whether rented to families sharers or holidaymakers. more red tape bureaucracy and legislation will only lead to higher rents and different problems. clearly the council do not seem to think families are at risk but then that would mean they would have to put their own houses in order, and its social housing where most problems occur. bug eye
  • Score: 0

4:29pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Kate234 says...

I think the other serious issue not raised here is when people let out holiday rental flats. My boyfriend lived in a building in which one flat was holiday let and the holiday makers set fire to it by accident at 6am in the morning.

If the building had gone up the insurance would have been invalid as most buildings with flats in them do not have adequate insurance to accommodate holiday rentals in them.

These properties should be forced to meet minimum public liability and buildings insurance standards which most of them aren't.
I think the other serious issue not raised here is when people let out holiday rental flats. My boyfriend lived in a building in which one flat was holiday let and the holiday makers set fire to it by accident at 6am in the morning. If the building had gone up the insurance would have been invalid as most buildings with flats in them do not have adequate insurance to accommodate holiday rentals in them. These properties should be forced to meet minimum public liability and buildings insurance standards which most of them aren't. Kate234
  • Score: 0

4:47pm Thu 15 Nov 12

s&k says...

If there are complaints from residents then B&HCC should have the power to effectively 'close' the house until the owners/developers find more suitable tenants. What's even more worrying about this trend is that it's good housing stock wasted on party goers when we have a city where people cannot afford to buy or rent, nevermind the issue of homelessness. What a tediously predictable city Brighton is becoming.
If there are complaints from residents then B&HCC should have the power to effectively 'close' the house until the owners/developers find more suitable tenants. What's even more worrying about this trend is that it's good housing stock wasted on party goers when we have a city where people cannot afford to buy or rent, nevermind the issue of homelessness. What a tediously predictable city Brighton is becoming. s&k
  • Score: 0

9:53pm Thu 15 Nov 12

SmileyD says...

Quote: "The company relies on an average of 1,000 hen and stag parties to flock to the city every weekend." Really? Does anybody actually bother to check this stuff before it's published?
Quote: "The company relies on an average of 1,000 hen and stag parties to flock to the city every weekend." Really? Does anybody actually bother to check this stuff before it's published? SmileyD
  • Score: 0

12:35am Fri 16 Nov 12

Fabulous_at_fifty says...

The reputable holiday accommodation agencies in the city insist that landlords have gas safety certificates, EPC's, portable appliance testing, written fire risk assessments and the appropriate insurances to include public liability prior to marketing their properties. Not all apartments and houses are occupied by hens and stags - there are couples, families, corporate guests, conference delegates etc. Not all visitors to Brighton (and Hove) are here for the night-life. There is something for everyone thus the popularity of the city as a tourist destination.
The reputable holiday accommodation agencies in the city insist that landlords have gas safety certificates, EPC's, portable appliance testing, written fire risk assessments and the appropriate insurances to include public liability prior to marketing their properties. Not all apartments and houses are occupied by hens and stags - there are couples, families, corporate guests, conference delegates etc. Not all visitors to Brighton (and Hove) are here for the night-life. There is something for everyone thus the popularity of the city as a tourist destination. Fabulous_at_fifty
  • Score: 0

8:07am Fri 16 Nov 12

Seagulls2 says...

SmileyD wrote:
Quote: "The company relies on an average of 1,000 hen and stag parties to flock to the city every weekend." Really? Does anybody actually bother to check this stuff before it's published?
No Smiley they don't - another shoddy bit of Argus reporting - see also "Brighton Holiday Homes manages the largest number of self-catering homes in Brighton and Hove" and a couple of paragraphs later "Brighton Holiday Homes list 96 properties on their website. Crown Gardens offers 117 properties"
[quote][p][bold]SmileyD[/bold] wrote: Quote: "The company relies on an average of 1,000 hen and stag parties to flock to the city every weekend." Really? Does anybody actually bother to check this stuff before it's published?[/p][/quote]No Smiley they don't - another shoddy bit of Argus reporting - see also "Brighton Holiday Homes manages the largest number of self-catering homes in Brighton and Hove" and a couple of paragraphs later "Brighton Holiday Homes list 96 properties on their website. Crown Gardens offers 117 properties" Seagulls2
  • Score: 0

8:31am Fri 16 Nov 12

julesgemini says...

Brighton has always been known as a party town. I don't understand why people move here if they don't want parties and noise!
Brighton has always been known as a party town. I don't understand why people move here if they don't want parties and noise! julesgemini
  • Score: 0

9:02am Fri 16 Nov 12

richardmoorely78 says...

Was this article written by an A Level student?

Hundreds of short-term rental properties are inviting stags and hens to celebrate in the city.

Who wrote this? short-term rental properties actually invite stag and hens to Brighton? Not the fact that it's a 24hr city, one of the most popular seaside cities.

Alice Wright “One of our neighbours is quite elderly and he was too scared to go out. He was trapped in his flat for four days.” - Seriously!? He was trapped in his house for four days because of noise in the street, come on.

I'd like to remind everyone that Brighton was built off the back of a "Party House" - lets shut down the Royal Pavilion and go back to being a small little fishing village.
Was this article written by an A Level student? Hundreds of short-term rental properties are inviting stags and hens to celebrate in the city. Who wrote this? short-term rental properties actually invite stag and hens to Brighton? Not the fact that it's a 24hr city, one of the most popular seaside cities. Alice Wright “One of our neighbours is quite elderly and he was too scared to go out. He was trapped in his flat for four days.” - Seriously!? He was trapped in his house for four days because of noise in the street, come on. I'd like to remind everyone that Brighton was built off the back of a "Party House" - lets shut down the Royal Pavilion and go back to being a small little fishing village. richardmoorely78
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Fri 16 Nov 12

jackson.sallyanne says...

As a home owner, who lives next door to a student let. I'd rather have a holiday rental where you only have noise at the weekend, rather than every Tuesday and Thursday night, all night with no control and no one to complain to.
As a home owner, who lives next door to a student let. I'd rather have a holiday rental where you only have noise at the weekend, rather than every Tuesday and Thursday night, all night with no control and no one to complain to. jackson.sallyanne
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Kate234 says...

Fabulous_at_fifty wrote:
The reputable holiday accommodation agencies in the city insist that landlords have gas safety certificates, EPC's, portable appliance testing, written fire risk assessments and the appropriate insurances to include public liability prior to marketing their properties. Not all apartments and houses are occupied by hens and stags - there are couples, families, corporate guests, conference delegates etc. Not all visitors to Brighton (and Hove) are here for the night-life. There is something for everyone thus the popularity of the city as a tourist destination.
The holiday accommodation agencies do not ask for a letter from the managing agent or freeholder association though to ensure that the building insurance for the whole building has been changed to allow holiday rental properties in it.

Almost all flat and house building insurance policies do not cover it and there is usually a significant additional expense of getting buildings insurance to cover this (assuming all the other flat owners agree to do this).

If you own a flat in a building with a holiday rental flat in it and the group building insurance has not been changed to cover this it is invalid if you need to claim if the insurance company finds out holiday rentals have been happening.

It is considered a high risk activity by them having lots of holiday makers in a building and most building insurance companies will not cover this risk at all and it needs to be dealt with by a specialised broker.

If you are holiday renting your flat it also can risk your mortgage finance if the holiday rental flat has not got a commercial mortgage on it - buy to let mortgages do not allow this type of activity in buildings they are financing. If you live next to a building that is causing you noise problems if the property has a mortgage on it you can also get in contact with their mortgage provider.
[quote][p][bold]Fabulous_at_fifty[/bold] wrote: The reputable holiday accommodation agencies in the city insist that landlords have gas safety certificates, EPC's, portable appliance testing, written fire risk assessments and the appropriate insurances to include public liability prior to marketing their properties. Not all apartments and houses are occupied by hens and stags - there are couples, families, corporate guests, conference delegates etc. Not all visitors to Brighton (and Hove) are here for the night-life. There is something for everyone thus the popularity of the city as a tourist destination.[/p][/quote]The holiday accommodation agencies do not ask for a letter from the managing agent or freeholder association though to ensure that the building insurance for the whole building has been changed to allow holiday rental properties in it. Almost all flat and house building insurance policies do not cover it and there is usually a significant additional expense of getting buildings insurance to cover this (assuming all the other flat owners agree to do this). If you own a flat in a building with a holiday rental flat in it and the group building insurance has not been changed to cover this it is invalid if you need to claim if the insurance company finds out holiday rentals have been happening. It is considered a high risk activity by them having lots of holiday makers in a building and most building insurance companies will not cover this risk at all and it needs to be dealt with by a specialised broker. If you are holiday renting your flat it also can risk your mortgage finance if the holiday rental flat has not got a commercial mortgage on it - buy to let mortgages do not allow this type of activity in buildings they are financing. If you live next to a building that is causing you noise problems if the property has a mortgage on it you can also get in contact with their mortgage provider. Kate234
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Fri 16 Nov 12

hubby says...

Let the kids have their fun!
Let the kids have their fun! hubby
  • Score: 0

8:21pm Fri 16 Nov 12

VoodooGangbanger says...

every week I have to walk to work along the seafront on the weekend, avoiding at least 30 piles of puke several kebabs and chips scattered everywhere admist the leaflets and trash the clubs leave scattered everywhere, mix in the homelessness of many people sleeping along the beach huts and drunken violence I often have to deal with coming home makes Brighton a increasingly terrible place to live.

in short its been made into a shithole and the police and council are no where to be seen.
every week I have to walk to work along the seafront on the weekend, avoiding at least 30 piles of puke several kebabs and chips scattered everywhere admist the leaflets and trash the clubs leave scattered everywhere, mix in the homelessness of many people sleeping along the beach huts and drunken violence I often have to deal with coming home makes Brighton a increasingly terrible place to live. in short its been made into a shithole and the police and council are no where to be seen. VoodooGangbanger
  • Score: 0

10:09pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Steve Heenan says...

Flat rents are so extortionate in B'ton & Hove I'm surprised anyone can afford to live there at all.
Flat rents are so extortionate in B'ton & Hove I'm surprised anyone can afford to live there at all. Steve Heenan
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

People should do what I did. Find the owners home address and a group of neighbours turn up at the owners home and hammer on the door when they are woken.
I can tell you the look on the owners face when 8 angry residents turn up at a landlords home is worth the £2.50 charge of getting the info from the Land Registry online service.
Go on do it. I also found parking a few tatty vans outside a landlords home soon got some action
They don't like **** on their own doorstep.
People should do what I did. Find the owners home address and a group of neighbours turn up at the owners home and hammer on the door when they are woken. I can tell you the look on the owners face when 8 angry residents turn up at a landlords home is worth the £2.50 charge of getting the info from the Land Registry online service. Go on do it. I also found parking a few tatty vans outside a landlords home soon got some action They don't like **** on their own doorstep. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

12:36am Sat 17 Nov 12

NickBrt says...

I bet there's not a party house next door to Caroline Lucas or Jason Kitekat.
I bet there's not a party house next door to Caroline Lucas or Jason Kitekat. NickBrt
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Sat 17 Nov 12

The Reader says...

I lived in a temporary property in Powis road earlier this year opposite one of these houses operated by 'Brighton Holiday Homes' ( I would see a vehicle with the company logo/name on it the next day and people getting out of the vehicle going into the house to clean it), the noise was not a problem for me but I did notice that they would be putting bags of rubbish (cans and glass as I could hear it) into the communal rubbish bins. As this waste would be classed as commercial waste it should not put into these bins because council taxpayers are footing the bill.
I lived in a temporary property in Powis road earlier this year opposite one of these houses operated by 'Brighton Holiday Homes' ( I would see a vehicle with the company logo/name on it the next day and people getting out of the vehicle going into the house to clean it), the noise was not a problem for me but I did notice that they would be putting bags of rubbish (cans and glass as I could hear it) into the communal rubbish bins. As this waste would be classed as commercial waste it should not put into these bins because council taxpayers are footing the bill. The Reader
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Sun 18 Nov 12

All 9 of me says...

jackson.sallyanne wrote:
As a home owner, who lives next door to a student let. I'd rather have a holiday rental where you only have noise at the weekend, rather than every Tuesday and Thursday night, all night with no control and no one to complain to.
no one to complain to ?? the people you should be complaining to are the very ones you are complaining about here. Get some backbone love, and stop making your responsibility somebody elses
[quote][p][bold]jackson.sallyanne[/bold] wrote: As a home owner, who lives next door to a student let. I'd rather have a holiday rental where you only have noise at the weekend, rather than every Tuesday and Thursday night, all night with no control and no one to complain to.[/p][/quote]no one to complain to ?? the people you should be complaining to are the very ones you are complaining about here. Get some backbone love, and stop making your responsibility somebody elses All 9 of me
  • Score: 0

9:54am Mon 19 Nov 12

dwhyte says...

This article is grossly exaggerated. “Brighton Holiday Homes list 96 properties – with room for up to 27 people in each – on their website.” The last time I checked, I found that my flat at the marina, which happens to be listed with Brighton Holiday Homes, could only handle 4 people. My flat is not a party flat and many of the properties listed with Brighton Holiday Homes are not party properties. I am surprised that the Argus would allow such a shoddy article to be published without checking the facts completely.
This article is grossly exaggerated. “Brighton Holiday Homes list 96 properties – with room for up to 27 people in each – on their website.” The last time I checked, I found that my flat at the marina, which happens to be listed with Brighton Holiday Homes, could only handle 4 people. My flat is not a party flat and many of the properties listed with Brighton Holiday Homes are not party properties. I am surprised that the Argus would allow such a shoddy article to be published without checking the facts completely. dwhyte
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Mon 19 Nov 12

ReluctantHousewife says...

richardmoorely78 wrote:
Was this article written by an A Level student?

Hundreds of short-term rental properties are inviting stags and hens to celebrate in the city.

Who wrote this? short-term rental properties actually invite stag and hens to Brighton? Not the fact that it's a 24hr city, one of the most popular seaside cities.

Alice Wright “One of our neighbours is quite elderly and he was too scared to go out. He was trapped in his flat for four days.” - Seriously!? He was trapped in his house for four days because of noise in the street, come on.

I'd like to remind everyone that Brighton was built off the back of a "Party House" - lets shut down the Royal Pavilion and go back to being a small little fishing village.
No - not because of noise, that hasn't been made clear - he was trapped in his house because a huge group of guys were sitting on his doorstep drinking and smoking (oh and singing which was lovely!) all day and all night - apparently they can't smoke in the party house so they did it outside!
[quote][p][bold]richardmoorely78[/bold] wrote: Was this article written by an A Level student? Hundreds of short-term rental properties are inviting stags and hens to celebrate in the city. Who wrote this? short-term rental properties actually invite stag and hens to Brighton? Not the fact that it's a 24hr city, one of the most popular seaside cities. Alice Wright “One of our neighbours is quite elderly and he was too scared to go out. He was trapped in his flat for four days.” - Seriously!? He was trapped in his house for four days because of noise in the street, come on. I'd like to remind everyone that Brighton was built off the back of a "Party House" - lets shut down the Royal Pavilion and go back to being a small little fishing village.[/p][/quote]No - not because of noise, that hasn't been made clear - he was trapped in his house because a huge group of guys were sitting on his doorstep drinking and smoking (oh and singing which was lovely!) all day and all night - apparently they can't smoke in the party house so they did it outside! ReluctantHousewife
  • Score: 0

12:30pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Brilliantbrighton says...

Holiday Lets, or 'Party Houses' is clearly an emotive subject and one that will inevitably separate people down party lines. And it does appear that the first casualty of war with this article has been the truth.

As mentioned above a sensible debate on this subject hasn't been aided by The Argus' reporting.

The journalist's 'Code of Ethics' states that all reporting should adhere to the basic key principles of 'truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity' http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Objectivity
_(journalism). All were in v short supply in this article.

Reporting so many inaccuracies and cheap shots e.g. consistently referring to holiday lets as 'Party Houses', inaccurate numbers re the amount of lets managed by each agency, inaccuracies re regulation and fire safety, neighbour trapped in their flat for four days. Come on Argus, really? You've left yourself wide open for the comments re sloppy, inaccurate, sensationalist reporting.

So cards on the table. I'm a Brighton property developer, AST landlord and holiday let landlord (I don't let any party houses).

The concerns with Holiday Lets:

1. All holiday let's are Party Houses.
2. They are a nightmare for local residents
3. They ruin the image of Brighton with a constant stream of stags and hens.... and the debris that follows e.g. sick, using residents bins.
4. They are not regulated.
5. They lack safety & fire regulation.
6. They're pushing up property prices via restricting housing stock for sale.
7. All the money is spent in supermarkets, not in the town (not from this article, though an often voiced complaint)
8. Holiday lets are only worth £15m a year to Brighton

My experience:

1. All holiday lets are clearly not 'Party Houses'. As with any emotive topic, there's always a v small minority that tarnish the reality for everyone else. If 500 holiday lets were party houses (more houses than there are pubs in Brighton) then I suspect this would be Argus front page news. They clearly aren't, they are overwhelmingly let to tourists.
2. Where problem lets occur, they are a nightmare for local residents. I have no interest in defending such lets or their landlords. My experience has been that the problem lets tend to operate outside the letting agencies. The agencies are typically run by owner operators, hence the people running the agencies have invested their money and themselves in building these businesses over many years. They engage closely with the council, environmental health and fire regs. They have no interest whatsoever in letting properties where the landlord allows, encourages or markets the properties for antisocial and downright troublesome behaviour. To do so wouldn't be in their interest, it would be unnecessary/unwelcom
e trouble and it would clearly put their business at risk.... as £12,000 fines would.
3. I attended the Chamber of Commerce 'Nightime Economy' evening. In my opinion, the most compelling insight came from the Brigthon Outreach charity i.e. the small team of volunteers that pick up the pieces and drunken people from our streets each weekend. Their insight:
- that all of the people they attend to are 'v young, Brighton locals that have had too much to drink'.
- They consist of two groups 'Brighton men between the ages of 17 and 23 that want to fight' and 'young girls that have drunk too many Jaegerbombs and have lost all their friends, mobile phone and money'.
- they specifically stated that none of the people they attend to are stags and hens as 'the wedding groups are all a lot older, responsible and they all tend to look after one another'.
Re the point that Holiday Lets are businesses and they use local bins. AST properties are private businesses too and they also use the bins, yet we all pay local Council Tax or Rates (if small hotels) so any waste removal service has been paid for.
4. This is often an inaccuracy pedled by the hotels seeking to shut down local, competing holiday lets. Holiday Lets are regulated. By law Holiday Lets adhere to Bed & Breakfast fire regs (well in excess of domestic) and they operate under environmental health legislation. To state that they, and the problem lets, aren't regulated is inaccurate. Additionally, the letting agencies operate their own code of conduct. As mentioned before, no agency wants to be associated with a Party House. When they occur they are, to my knowledge, independent lets that choose to deliberately flout the law. If they choose to do so the council has all the necessary powers to stop them e.g. the £12,000 fine. Additionally:
- there are 10,000's of Holiday Lets in the UK and Holiday Let specific insurance is v easy to obtain.
- Brighton Holiday Homes and Crown Gardens (Sussex Security Solutions) both operate night patrols, checking on each property to ensure that the tenants are not making any noise. They do this as a service over and above what is required by law. This is also far in excess of the service AST landlords would offer.
5. All holiday lets with Crown Gardens and Brighton Holiday homes must undergo a Fire Risk assessment (at £300 a time) and then undertake the resulting necessary works. This report is then filed with the letting agency, along with Gas Safety checks.
6. 500 properties in a city of 156,000 people is unlikely to have any noticeable impact on property prices. Brighton's status as one of the UK's fastest growing cities/populations and the lack of new, affordable housing is by far the biggest issue Brighton must address.
7. Nonsense. When have you ever been on a stag or hen party, inevitably somewhere touristy, and then decided to buy beers locally and stay in for the weekend? Never? The reality is that the groups go out and spend money in the restaurants, pubs, clubs, quad biking or cup cake making etc. And when do you ever leave one of these weekends without thinking, 'I've just spent a fortune/enough for a week abroad/£500 or more'.... all spent in the local economy.
8. £15m a year spend is a v small slice of the real spend. The tenants spend a great deal in the city, although with my income I spend 1/3 of my income on local management fees (staff all based in the North Laine and Kemp Town), out of hours support, security services, laundry and cleaning (all Brighton based). Sticky money indeed. Furthermore, as a business owner, I take a (small) salary and almost all of the other 2/3 is reinvested. This allows me to take Brighton's empty, run down and on occasionally derelict housing stock (of which there is plenty) and turn it around.... also increasing the supply of housing stock. In doing so this provides a great deal of work for many of Brighton's skilled, high wage, but out of work, building trades.

If you're suffering at the hands of an irresponsible landlord, be they an AST let or a holiday let then I advise the following:

1. Firstly, find out if they have an agent. In the case of holiday let I can assure you that the Management at the agency will respond v quickly to any reports of noise, and if at night they will send out a licensed security / noise patrol officer to stop to issue.
2. State exactly what the issues are and how you would like them remedied. Provide this in writing and the agent will likely enforce each and every point (within reason!)
3. Insist that the landlord pays for a noise patrol service. I do for all of my properties.
4. Provide formal warnings and notices re noise after 9.30pm, outside spaces being out of bounds, no congregating by the door. Ensure these notices are handed out as a printed copy when guests check in and as laminated notices in the propertywhere necessary.
5. By this point there are no complaints. If they do persist, introduce a £fine (and a formal notification re the fining policy in the T&C's) for any security call outs. I've never had to fine anyone.

Anti social issues are easy to solve. Targetting Brighton's tourist industry is deeply concerning. Brighton without the tourist industry would leave us with a city of public sector employees and Amex. This industry can operate alongside Brighton's hotels and residents as the vast majority of Holiday Let's do.

The Holiday Let industry bringing in £15 million a year? A vast understatement, as the overwhelming demand for Holiday Lets is from tourists, the tourism trade being worth some £407 million a year to Brighton. http://www.visitbrig
hton.com/xsdbimgs/To
urism%20strategy%5B1
%5D.pdf

Brighton has always had a vibrant, colourful and contoversial night time economy. Yet Brighton also has a great deal of competition. Knee jerk regulation, poor reporting and Brighton's hotels seeking to warp the facts/remove competition isn't the solution. Would a tourist or hen party paying £100 each for three nights accomodation really decide to spend twice that to stay in a Brighton hotel with uninspiring, carbon copy rooms with nowhere private to socialise? You'll never convince your fellow letters to double their budgets. Holiday Lets are not competing with the hotels, they are complementing them offering a service to tourists that generic hotels cannot offer.

Remove or reduce this service and you inevitably remove the trade that would come with it.
Holiday Lets, or 'Party Houses' is clearly an emotive subject and one that will inevitably separate people down party lines. And it does appear that the first casualty of war with this article has been the truth. As mentioned above a sensible debate on this subject hasn't been aided by The Argus' reporting. The journalist's 'Code of Ethics' states that all reporting should adhere to the basic key principles of 'truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity' http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Objectivity _(journalism). All were in v short supply in this article. Reporting so many inaccuracies and cheap shots e.g. consistently referring to holiday lets as 'Party Houses', inaccurate numbers re the amount of lets managed by each agency, inaccuracies re regulation and fire safety, neighbour trapped in their flat for four days. Come on Argus, really? You've left yourself wide open for the comments re sloppy, inaccurate, sensationalist reporting. So cards on the table. I'm a Brighton property developer, AST landlord and holiday let landlord (I don't let any party houses). The concerns with Holiday Lets: 1. All holiday let's are Party Houses. 2. They are a nightmare for local residents 3. They ruin the image of Brighton with a constant stream of stags and hens.... and the debris that follows e.g. sick, using residents bins. 4. They are not regulated. 5. They lack safety & fire regulation. 6. They're pushing up property prices via restricting housing stock for sale. 7. All the money is spent in supermarkets, not in the town (not from this article, though an often voiced complaint) 8. Holiday lets are only worth £15m a year to Brighton My experience: 1. All holiday lets are clearly not 'Party Houses'. As with any emotive topic, there's always a v small minority that tarnish the reality for everyone else. If 500 holiday lets were party houses (more houses than there are pubs in Brighton) then I suspect this would be Argus front page news. They clearly aren't, they are overwhelmingly let to tourists. 2. Where problem lets occur, they are a nightmare for local residents. I have no interest in defending such lets or their landlords. My experience has been that the problem lets tend to operate outside the letting agencies. The agencies are typically run by owner operators, hence the people running the agencies have invested their money and themselves in building these businesses over many years. They engage closely with the council, environmental health and fire regs. They have no interest whatsoever in letting properties where the landlord allows, encourages or markets the properties for antisocial and downright troublesome behaviour. To do so wouldn't be in their interest, it would be unnecessary/unwelcom e trouble and it would clearly put their business at risk.... as £12,000 fines would. 3. I attended the Chamber of Commerce 'Nightime Economy' evening. In my opinion, the most compelling insight came from the Brigthon Outreach charity i.e. the small team of volunteers that pick up the pieces and drunken people from our streets each weekend. Their insight: - that all of the people they attend to are 'v young, Brighton locals that have had too much to drink'. - They consist of two groups 'Brighton men between the ages of 17 and 23 that want to fight' and 'young girls that have drunk too many Jaegerbombs and have lost all their friends, mobile phone and money'. - they specifically stated that none of the people they attend to are stags and hens as 'the wedding groups are all a lot older, responsible and they all tend to look after one another'. Re the point that Holiday Lets are businesses and they use local bins. AST properties are private businesses too and they also use the bins, yet we all pay local Council Tax or Rates (if small hotels) so any waste removal service has been paid for. 4. This is often an inaccuracy pedled by the hotels seeking to shut down local, competing holiday lets. Holiday Lets are regulated. By law Holiday Lets adhere to Bed & Breakfast fire regs (well in excess of domestic) and they operate under environmental health legislation. To state that they, and the problem lets, aren't regulated is inaccurate. Additionally, the letting agencies operate their own code of conduct. As mentioned before, no agency wants to be associated with a Party House. When they occur they are, to my knowledge, independent lets that choose to deliberately flout the law. If they choose to do so the council has all the necessary powers to stop them e.g. the £12,000 fine. Additionally: - there are 10,000's of Holiday Lets in the UK and Holiday Let specific insurance is v easy to obtain. - Brighton Holiday Homes and Crown Gardens (Sussex Security Solutions) both operate night patrols, checking on each property to ensure that the tenants are not making any noise. They do this as a service over and above what is required by law. This is also far in excess of the service AST landlords would offer. 5. All holiday lets with Crown Gardens and Brighton Holiday homes must undergo a Fire Risk assessment (at £300 a time) and then undertake the resulting necessary works. This report is then filed with the letting agency, along with Gas Safety checks. 6. 500 properties in a city of 156,000 people is unlikely to have any noticeable impact on property prices. Brighton's status as one of the UK's fastest growing cities/populations and the lack of new, affordable housing is by far the biggest issue Brighton must address. 7. Nonsense. When have you ever been on a stag or hen party, inevitably somewhere touristy, and then decided to buy beers locally and stay in for the weekend? Never? The reality is that the groups go out and spend money in the restaurants, pubs, clubs, quad biking or cup cake making etc. And when do you ever leave one of these weekends without thinking, 'I've just spent a fortune/enough for a week abroad/£500 or more'.... all spent in the local economy. 8. £15m a year spend is a v small slice of the real spend. The tenants spend a great deal in the city, although with my income I spend 1/3 of my income on local management fees (staff all based in the North Laine and Kemp Town), out of hours support, security services, laundry and cleaning (all Brighton based). Sticky money indeed. Furthermore, as a business owner, I take a (small) salary and almost all of the other 2/3 is reinvested. This allows me to take Brighton's empty, run down and on occasionally derelict housing stock (of which there is plenty) and turn it around.... also increasing the supply of housing stock. In doing so this provides a great deal of work for many of Brighton's skilled, high wage, but out of work, building trades. If you're suffering at the hands of an irresponsible landlord, be they an AST let or a holiday let then I advise the following: 1. Firstly, find out if they have an agent. In the case of holiday let I can assure you that the Management at the agency will respond v quickly to any reports of noise, and if at night they will send out a licensed security / noise patrol officer to stop to issue. 2. State exactly what the issues are and how you would like them remedied. Provide this in writing and the agent will likely enforce each and every point (within reason!) 3. Insist that the landlord pays for a noise patrol service. I do for all of my properties. 4. Provide formal warnings and notices re noise after 9.30pm, outside spaces being out of bounds, no congregating by the door. Ensure these notices are handed out as a printed copy when guests check in and as laminated notices in the propertywhere necessary. 5. By this point there are no complaints. If they do persist, introduce a £fine (and a formal notification re the fining policy in the T&C's) for any security call outs. I've never had to fine anyone. Anti social issues are easy to solve. Targetting Brighton's tourist industry is deeply concerning. Brighton without the tourist industry would leave us with a city of public sector employees and Amex. This industry can operate alongside Brighton's hotels and residents as the vast majority of Holiday Let's do. The Holiday Let industry bringing in £15 million a year? A vast understatement, as the overwhelming demand for Holiday Lets is from tourists, the tourism trade being worth some £407 million a year to Brighton. http://www.visitbrig hton.com/xsdbimgs/To urism%20strategy%5B1 %5D.pdf Brighton has always had a vibrant, colourful and contoversial night time economy. Yet Brighton also has a great deal of competition. Knee jerk regulation, poor reporting and Brighton's hotels seeking to warp the facts/remove competition isn't the solution. Would a tourist or hen party paying £100 each for three nights accomodation really decide to spend twice that to stay in a Brighton hotel with uninspiring, carbon copy rooms with nowhere private to socialise? You'll never convince your fellow letters to double their budgets. Holiday Lets are not competing with the hotels, they are complementing them offering a service to tourists that generic hotels cannot offer. Remove or reduce this service and you inevitably remove the trade that would come with it. Brilliantbrighton
  • Score: 0

1:37pm Thu 22 Nov 12

StyleCop says...

Thank you - great reply redressing the balance - pity The Argus journalists didn't seek a quote from someone with you experience.

I'm assuming the AST you refer to is Assured Shorthold Tenancy? i.e. 'normal' renters...?
Thank you - great reply redressing the balance - pity The Argus journalists didn't seek a quote from someone with you experience. I'm assuming the AST you refer to is Assured Shorthold Tenancy? i.e. 'normal' renters...? StyleCop
  • Score: 0

2:57pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Brilliantbrighton says...

Hi there,

Thanks! Yes AST - Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

Sorry it went on so long. Thought it best to offer some insight and also advice for those that need help dealing with problem neighbours .....be they on AST or holiday letting.
Hi there, Thanks! Yes AST - Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Sorry it went on so long. Thought it best to offer some insight and also advice for those that need help dealing with problem neighbours .....be they on AST or holiday letting. Brilliantbrighton
  • Score: 0

9:26am Fri 23 Nov 12

ReluctantHousewife says...

But this isn't just a debate about economy and business, it's also about homes and lives.
Maybe those discussing the important contribution made by these houses don't live next door to one? While those of us who do have to 'take one for the team'? for the good of Brighton's economy?

I understand the input these houses have and the comments above are of course valid, however there must be a way of working out the best use of each house that is turned into a short let?
I know of four houses in my immediate environs, two I can see make great party houses – no close neighbours, on a main road etc – and two are not – right in the middle of tiny mews’ filled with families and elderly residents. Could neighbourhood needs be taken into account every time a new house is opened so they are not left to deal with incompatible short term lets?

While you’re going about your daily lives, trying to get your kids to bed and get up early for work you are constantly living next door to people are on holiday, who won’t be here next week and have no long term interest in the street – the dynamic can obviously cause problems.

We have now reached an arrangement where ‘our house’ is only let to families or similar - not large same sex groups - which suits our area,(luckily we are able to communicate with our agents). Maybe other agreements could be made for these houses to minimise impact on areas clearly unsuitable to cope with huge or younger groups?

Oh and regarding the use of 24hour hotlines and night patrols – all good ideas – but what is the point of them if that information isn’t communicated to the neighbours. These safeguards and reporting procedures need to be shared if a short term let house is opened in the neighbourhood!
But this isn't just a debate about economy and business, it's also about homes and lives. Maybe those discussing the important contribution made by these houses don't live next door to one? While those of us who do have to 'take one for the team'? for the good of Brighton's economy? I understand the input these houses have and the comments above are of course valid, however there must be a way of working out the best use of each house that is turned into a short let? I know of four houses in my immediate environs, two I can see make great party houses – no close neighbours, on a main road etc – and two are not – right in the middle of tiny mews’ filled with families and elderly residents. Could neighbourhood needs be taken into account every time a new house is opened so they are not left to deal with incompatible short term lets? While you’re going about your daily lives, trying to get your kids to bed and get up early for work you are constantly living next door to people are on holiday, who won’t be here next week and have no long term interest in the street – the dynamic can obviously cause problems. We have now reached an arrangement where ‘our house’ is only let to families or similar - not large same sex groups - which suits our area,(luckily we are able to communicate with our agents). Maybe other agreements could be made for these houses to minimise impact on areas clearly unsuitable to cope with huge or younger groups? Oh and regarding the use of 24hour hotlines and night patrols – all good ideas – but what is the point of them if that information isn’t communicated to the neighbours. These safeguards and reporting procedures need to be shared if a short term let house is opened in the neighbourhood! ReluctantHousewife
  • Score: 0

2:55pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Brilliantbrighton says...

Hi Reluctant Housewife

Thanks for reading my lengthy reply/advice!

I think all your points are v fair (apart from an expectation that neighbours 'should take one for the team' in order to support the local economy).

I'm upbeat re your answer as it does appear that you've engaged with the agent, you've specified the changes you need, they've listened and they've made the changes (perhaps not all, though enough to find an agreeable solution).

Most houses operate just fine as no one (neighbour, landlord or agency) wants to invite conflict. I'm also a believer that most landlords have a degree of common sense re what tenants suit a particular area. From experience, the dynamic is often that the landlord might be new to letting, initially they may be happy to accept all types of tenant.... and then time quickly tells if some customer profiles don't 'work'. If the situation is obvious e.g. stags on a mews, then the agent will likely see this, voice similar concerns to the landlord, the landlord agrees and makes the change..... as your's has done.

Hence if it's not working for you, let the agent know as the chances are the agency may have had concerns, but remember they don't make the final decision who to let to... the (often) inexperienced landlord does. Your voicing an issue should quickly allow a change. Again, many of the landlords own the property as they used to live there, so they know the neighbours, they'll often be back at the property to carry out maintenance/collect post/conduct gas safety checks etc etc. So they'll want to walk into an welcoming environment/mews ...not a war zone.

It's also worth a mention that problems exist in all types of let i.e. budding bedroom DJs partying every weekend on a 12 month AST tenancy, students in HMO properties staying up mid week and redecorating the pavement on the way home from a nightclub....etc

I certainly acknowledge that the perfect relationship is one where the all neighbours know the agency and their services. Although I would hope that the neighbours take some ownership as the landlord can't knock on every door and inform neighbour (people are away, they move ...). A google for "brighton holiday let" tells you the key agencies, 3 of them have 95% of the properties. Plus, as mentioned before you'll see a branded vehicle outside.....plus you may know the landlord....so plenty of options to engage.

I also live on a Mews near Brunswick, with two holiday lets and we've fed back our needs (no smoking in the Mews, Windows bolted to stop noise and cleaners checking outside the property as well as inside). It took one phone call and one email for all to be achieved.

Put a house full of students, or a DJ on a 12 month AST in the street and we've have had limited power and a much slower route to resolve things.
Hi Reluctant Housewife Thanks for reading my lengthy reply/advice! I think all your points are v fair (apart from an expectation that neighbours 'should take one for the team' in order to support the local economy). I'm upbeat re your answer as it does appear that you've engaged with the agent, you've specified the changes you need, they've listened and they've made the changes (perhaps not all, though enough to find an agreeable solution). Most houses operate just fine as no one (neighbour, landlord or agency) wants to invite conflict. I'm also a believer that most landlords have a degree of common sense re what tenants suit a particular area. From experience, the dynamic is often that the landlord might be new to letting, initially they may be happy to accept all types of tenant.... and then time quickly tells if some customer profiles don't 'work'. If the situation is obvious e.g. stags on a mews, then the agent will likely see this, voice similar concerns to the landlord, the landlord agrees and makes the change..... as your's has done. Hence if it's not working for you, let the agent know as the chances are the agency may have had concerns, but remember they don't make the final decision who to let to... the (often) inexperienced landlord does. Your voicing an issue should quickly allow a change. Again, many of the landlords own the property as they used to live there, so they know the neighbours, they'll often be back at the property to carry out maintenance/collect post/conduct gas safety checks etc etc. So they'll want to walk into an welcoming environment/mews ...not a war zone. It's also worth a mention that problems exist in all types of let i.e. budding bedroom DJs partying every weekend on a 12 month AST tenancy, students in HMO properties staying up mid week and redecorating the pavement on the way home from a nightclub....etc I certainly acknowledge that the perfect relationship is one where the all neighbours know the agency and their services. Although I would hope that the neighbours take some ownership as the landlord can't knock on every door and inform neighbour (people are away, they move ...). A google for "brighton holiday let" tells you the key agencies, 3 of them have 95% of the properties. Plus, as mentioned before you'll see a branded vehicle outside.....plus you may know the landlord....so plenty of options to engage. I also live on a Mews near Brunswick, with two holiday lets and we've fed back our needs (no smoking in the Mews, Windows bolted to stop noise and cleaners checking outside the property as well as inside). It took one phone call and one email for all to be achieved. Put a house full of students, or a DJ on a 12 month AST in the street and we've have had limited power and a much slower route to resolve things. Brilliantbrighton
  • Score: 0

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