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New licensing proposal for Brighton and Hove landlords
Landlords could be forced to secure a licence to rent out their homes under new plans.
To cut down on rogue landlords and improve conditions for those living there, Brighton and Hove City Council says it is looking at whether a city-wide licensing scheme would work.
It comes after the local authority recently created extra powers to regulate those operating houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) in the Lewes Road corridor, which is popular with students.
Labour councillor Leigh Farrow, who asked for a city-wide scheme to be considered, said: “This all goes back to the crisis we have in housing in the city.”
The council recently introduced a licensing scheme for about 800 homes in the area around the Lewes Road corridor.
But there are calls for it to follow the lead of the London Borough of Newham, which recently adopted a scheme which covered its entire area – the first of its kind in the country.
Advocates believe this will ensure decent rented accommodation is provided.
Liz Wakefield, chairman of the council’s housing committee, agreed to a “scoping exercise” to see if a city-wide scheme would work at its meeting on Wednesday.
However she made clear that no decision had yet been taken.
Speaking after the meeting, Coun Farrow said: “The Labour and Co-operative group will be looking at policies for 2015 whereby rogue landlords will be exposed while the vast majority of good landlords will be protected under an accredited scheme.”
James Epps, president of the Brighton and Hove Estate Agents Association, said: “There’s always high demand for shared housing in the city and this will affect those living in these areas. This is because of the high cost around rented accommodation.
“The licensing seems to have worked in the Lewes Road corridor. I don’t think it has really affected the rents as most landlords have absorbed the costs.”
He added there were also question marks over whether the council had the resources to implement a city-wide scheme.
The most recent census indicates the private rented sector in Brighton and Hove has increased by 37% since 2001.
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