MORE than 3,000 landlords across the city will have to submit to a new licensing scheme which will cost them around £1,000 and then £600 annually.

Owners of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) will be subject to the new regulations from March next year.

The scheme replaces and broadens existing strategies which apply in some areas of the city including Lewes Road.

A meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s housing and new homes committee last night heard from officers that a major consultation was undertaken between June and September this year.

Almost 800 responses to the consultation were received, with 87 per cent in favour, although the majority of private landlords who responded to the consultation opposed the plan.

When asked whether the plan would improve the quality of HMOs 86 per cent agreed, and 70 said it would reduce neighbourhood problems. But only one third of landlords agreed with the plan, and 48 per cent strongly disagreed.

Council officer Martin Reid told the committee there was “sufficient evidence” of HMOs being “managed irresponsibly” to support a broader licensing scheme.

The costs of the scheme depend on several factors, including the number of lettings in a property, whether a landlord is already accredited, and how quickly they sign up to the scheme.

For an HMO of between six and eight lettings, the standard initial fee for landlords would be £1,010 – although those who already have accreditation would pay £110 less, and those who require prompting would pay £140 more.

The renewal fee would then be £600, or slightly less for landlords with accreditation, and slightly more for those who require prompting to pay. The scheme has been assessed to apply to approximately 3,200 HMOs in the city.

It will apply for five years from January 1 to properties currently covered by the existing city centre licensing scheme, and from March 1 for the rest of the city.

Raising her concerns to the committee, Councillor Mary Mears (Con) said: “We might create more problems for tenants.

“Landlords will pass on the costs to their tenants, whatever anyone says. That’s business.”

She said the scheme did not expand on existing council powers which could be used to keep wayward landlords in line.

Councillor Tracey Hill (Lab) replied: “There are powers but the council lacks the resources in terms of how they’re used and has had to scale back how it uses powers to manage standards.”

She said the advantage of the scheme was that it put the responsibility on landlords of HMOs.

The committee passed the motion unanimously.