Houses in Brighton and Hove
Houses in Brighton and Hove

The council is considering banning new builds being used as holiday lets or second homes.

Councillors are being asked to approve the development of a principal residence policy (PRP).

Similar policies, which require a new build to be the owner’s main home, exist in small, rural and coastal communities around the country, but not yet in any cities or large urban areas.

But officers warn blanket bans have not been proven to work – and in some cases have even been counterproductive.

Instead, they propose a policy which would work in a similar way to HMO restrictions, with a ban only coming into force once a saturation threshold is met.

Labour councillor Gill Williams, who previously chaired the council’s Housing Committee, asked the full council meeting for the report to look at ways to impose new build restrictions.

When she put the case, the East Brighton ward councillor said: “Many families, key workers and people of all ages are being priced out of our city by the lack of affordable housing.

“Our communities are suffering because of the sky-rocketing costs of homes – and lack of control on the second home market is a major contributor to this.

“We must do all we can to prevent the development of high-cost apartments such as the gasworks, which is looming – and these are marketed specifically at the wealth investment market.”

A report before the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee on Thursday, 16 June said research by the London School of Economics in 2019 suggested in St Ives, Cornwall, new builds had slowed.

Instead, buyers started targeting existing housing for second home purchases since St Ives introduced a PRP.

As of March 2022, the website found 3,118 properties in the city marketed as short-term holiday lets – although this figure will be a mix of pure holiday lets and people occasionally letting out their homes when they’re away.

From April 2023, second homeowners must prove their holiday lets are rented out for a minimum of 70 days a year to qualify for small business rates relief.

Before moving forward with a PRP, the council would need to analyse the 2021 census to find the number of second homes in the city and review ward-level information to establish the hot spots.

The Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee meets at Hove Town Hall at 4pm on Thursday 16 June.

To read more on this issue, view the full article in Brighton and Hove News here

Photo credit: Creative Commons

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