A new loophole from town hall lawyers has emerged, stating educational establishments are exempt from a council scheme to reduce the number of multiple occupation houses (HMOs).
Brighton and Hove City Council introduced ‘Article 4’ in 2013, aiming to restrict disruption to residential areas within the city and prevent the growth of HMOs in the city.
The loophole states that homes managed by the city’s universities are exempt from Article 4, as long as they have no more than six people living in them.
This decision has led to development applications of family homes being refused and several unauthorised shared homes being converted back to family use.
The University of Sussex recently moved a group of first year students into a HMO in Plymouth Avenue, Bevendean, next door to a family home where planning permission has now been refused as more than 30% of the houses in a 50 meter radius are being used as HMOs.
Brighton is home to over 36,000 students, each requiring accommodation and rent values within the city average between £100 to £200 a week, far higher than the UK average of around £86 per week.
As such, many students are forced into HMOs to reduce costs and with the total number of students on the increase, the number of HMOs will continue to rise, progressively seeping further into family residential areas.
New student accommodations are being built, however remain increasingly privatised.
The newly finished Aparto Stoneworks accommodation in the Lewes Road area contains 51 flats with rents varying between £230-250 a week for a private studio apartment instead of communal areas.
Brighton and Sussex universities may have largest student accommodation portfolios in the UK, but who is to say that further exceptions to Article 4 won’t be found, expanding tensions between students and families within Brighton?