Brighton and Hove City Council have re-introduced their additional HMO Licencing Scheme for small HMO properties not included in the national licencing scheme. It is crucial for landlords and property managers to understand this change and how it may affect them, the local authority aims to raise the standards of rental accommodation. Let's dissect the details and equip you for seamless compliance.


Understanding the Scope of the New Regulations

The council has implemented additional licensing requirements for smaller HMOs within the city. These properties are defined as those accommodating 3-4 occupants who are not from the same household and share amenities across two or more floors. This targeted approach aims to address potential shortcomings in smaller HMOs, ultimately elevating the overall quality of rental housing in Brighton & Hove. This is exactly the same scope as the previous additional licensing scheme that ended last year, so existing HMO landlords will be very familiar.


Why the Change?

The council's decision is backed by data suggesting that smaller HMOs often face issues like subpar living conditions, high tenant turnover, and management challenges. By implementing licensing requirements, they aim to address these concerns and ensure all HMOs meet a set standard. Licensing is intended to ensure that every HMO meets minimum safety and living standards, providing a better quality of life for tenants and reducing issues that landlords need to manage. Whilst this is something that has been addressed in the past, these seems to be a general feeling that the only way to maintain these standards going forwards is to keep the licencing requirement in place.


Impact on Landlords

For landlords, the implication of this licensing is two-fold. Firstly, there is a financial aspect to consider—the cost of obtaining a license, which may require making physical improvements to the property to meet the required standards. However, with the previous scheme ending fairly recently, and the most recent HMO standards published by Brighton and Hove City Council dating back to 2018, these should be fairly minimal.

Secondly, there is the operational aspect, including the ongoing compliance with the standards set out in the license, regular inspections, and potential penalties for non-compliance.

It's imperative for landlords to understand that the cost of non-compliance can significantly outweigh the initial outlay for licensing. Penalties can include substantial fines and restrictions on renting out properties. For anyone unsure on the requirements, or the best way to move forward, there are great, experienced agents in the city that know the landscape well.


Moving Forward with Compliance

To comply with the new regulations, landlords should begin by reviewing the detailed standards and requirements outlined by the Brighton and Hove City Council on their official website. Applications for licenses can now be made online, simplifying the process. Landlords should take this opportunity to ensure all their rental properties meet the required standards, thus avoiding penalties and contributing to higher standards of living in the city.

For those landlords with an agent managing their properties for them, their agent should be able to handle all of the requirements to ensure all properties are compliant. For those lucky enough to have their properties managed by our Lettings Team here at Eightfold Property, we will be in touch over the next couple of weeks to begin this process. Our expertise ensures your properties not only meet licensing standards but also remain safe, comfortable, and attractive living spaces for your tenants.


The re-introduction of additional HMO licensing in Brighton and Hove is a welcome step towards improving the quality of rental housing in the city. As landlords and property managers, it's our duty to embrace these changes and work together to ensure our properties are safe, compliant, and profitable. Let's view this as an opportunity to enhance our offerings and set a benchmark for quality in the private rented sector. The maintaining of these standards can help elevate the quality of our offerings and set the bar high for the private rented sector, and ensure a thriving HMO market for the future.

Landlords interested in knowing more can contact our Lettings Department at or on 01273 672 999 (option 1).


For further details visit the Brighton and Hove City Council's website

To see the current HMO Standards, see this PDF by Brighton and Hove City Council

Map courtesy of Brighton and Hove City Council