SUPPORT has been shown for a citywide petition to be launched calling for action over the “studentification” of areas with a lack of housing for families.

Residents from a number of streets in the Kemp Town area of Brighton expressed their growing concern about the rising number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in their area at a public meeting on Friday night.

The meeting, which was attended by Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven, and leader of the city council, Warren Morgan, highlighted residents’ calls for action to stop their neighbourhood becoming overrun by student housing.

Resident Claire Fergusson O’Toole said: “The issue is breaking down the community.

“We have nothing against the students.

“However, families should be able to rent as well.

“Landlords are turning small family homes into houses for six people.

“It is a matter of greed in terms of the property developers.

“We hope to get Article Four introduced in our area as we are the last ward to get this.”

Article Four directions are used by councils to limit the number of HMOs in an area, with planning permission no longer required by landlords to let a family home or dwelling by turning it into a small HMO, which can house between three and six tenants.

Residents raised concerns over some landlords planning to house as many as nine tenants in one property that could otherwise be used as a family home.

Bristol Street resident Tony Baker said: “I live right next to two HMOs.

“You never know who you are going to get there.

“There are people causing problems in Bennett Road by having loud parties and they bring these out onto the street.

“If left unregulated this could lead to problems like in areas such as Bevendean.

“There is a nationwide shortage of housing and it is not a unique problem to Brighton.”

After listening to the concerns of residents, Mr Russell-Moyle suggested a citywide petition be launched to put pressure on the Government to reconsider limitations placed upon landlords operating HMOs.

He said: “Private landlords are the ones causing the vast amount of problems.

“Some issues need to be about enforcement and some of these issues need to be about engaging with the universities and landlords.”

The issues faced by residents are set to be discussed by members of the tourism, development and culture committee on June 21.