Landlords and students opposed to council's new licensing laws

Property investors in Brighton, Sussex, are outraged by propositions from their local council that may see them having to pay £700 for a licence to rent property out to students.

The move comes after residents in several areas of the city have complained about nuisance levels relating to noise and litter in houses where students live. The local council is run by the Green Party and they are now considering how the many thousands of students in the city are integrated with the resident population in the best way. They have proposed that the licensing laws on Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are changed to bring more landlord properties under their jurisdiction.

At the moment a HMO licence is required if a building is at least three stories high and has five unrelated people or more sharing the accommodation. Landlords have to ensure they comply with extra regulations in such buildings and property insurance is a must. Brighton Council now wants to bring smaller houses where students live into the licensing net.

Councillor Bill Randall explained: “This would benefit the community where it’s about the litter and the noise from student houses. But I wouldn’t want to demonise students. Not all students cause problems by any means and not all the problems are caused by students either. However, we do want to be able to control it and perhaps deal with it more quickly than we can at the moment.”

The policy is not favoured by landlords in the city nor their student tenants. While landlords complain that the licences will just land them with an extra cost, students are fearful the extra cost will be passed onto them and make it even more difficult to eke out their limited cash resources. A decision will be made at the next full council meeting.