Brighton Proposes Landlord Licensing Scheme

9th April 2024

A new recommendation is on the horizon: the implementation of a landlord licensing scheme for all private rental properties within certain parts of our vibrant city.

Under this proposed scheme, every private residential landlord would be required to obtain a license, valid for five years, at a cost of £670, and adhere to the specified license conditions. This initiative stems from Brighton & Hove City Council’s commitment to addressing substandard property conditions, mitigating deprivation, and providing a safety net to prevent homelessness in case of sudden tenancy terminations.

Despite the council’s proactive stance, it’s essential to note that approximately two-thirds of landlords, in response to the consultation, expressed reservations about the scheme. Concerns were raised regarding its potential impact on the availability of rental properties in the market.

The initial phase of the five-year scheme is supposed to come into action in September, affecting approximately 2,100 properties in Kemptown, Moulsecoomb & Bevendean, Queens Park, and Whitehawk & Marina. However, the council has ambitions to extend this scheme to an additional 9,500 properties across 13 other wards in the city, pending approval.

Councillor Gill Williams, chairperson of the housing & new homes committee, emphasized the necessity of enhancing management and maintenance standards in privately rented homes. She highlighted the inconsistent quality of experiences reported by residents and underscored the council’s commitment to ensuring that all tenants reside in safe, healthy, and well-managed accommodations.

Outlined within the proposal are various licensing fee structures:

  • A standard fee of £670 for five years per property.
  • A £75 discount applicable for properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or above, or if a property meets its “potential” rating and had a rating of E or higher.
  • A £50 discount for subsequent properties owned by the same landlord.
  • A £75 discount extended to registered charities.
  • Furthermore, it’s crucial to acknowledge that failure to apply for the license would result in an increased fee of £760.

The proposed scheme aims to address landlords who neglect their responsibilities in managing and maintaining properties. License conditions may necessitate repairs or upgrades to ensure compliance with safety and quality standards.

In response to these proposed changes, the National Residential Landlords Association has voiced concerns, asserting that most landlords already provide high-quality housing. They argue that broad licensing schemes like this one could disproportionately burden landlords and impede access to housing for those in need.

As Brighton landlords, it is incumbent upon us to engage with these developments constructively, ensuring that the interests of both landlords and tenants are adequately represented. Let us work together to uphold the integrity of our rental market and promote the well-being of all residents in our beloved city.