A COMMON house in Bevendean which council has said should return to family ownership can continue to be let to less affluent tenants after approval by appeal.
Landlady Belinda Coote says she is letting rooms at 40 Heath Hill Avenue at a reasonable rent to people who cannot afford Brighton’s high rents.
In 2015 she started renting and was told that planning permission was required – and her application for a multi-family dwelling (HMO) was subsequently rejected.
But a planning inspector allowed her appeal after hearing the number of HMOs in the area was exactly 10 per cent – the threshold above which new HMO applications in restricted areas of Brighton are rejected – and not above.
In her appeal, Ms Coote explained she bought the bungalow with a small inheritance to rent to those who could not afford high rents.
She said: “I was also determined to create a home rather than just taking money from tenants and I’ve spent the rent on renovating the house and paying off the mortgage.
“This is very stressful for me as I like to do things legally, properly and ethically.
“I’m also one of the few property owners who rent to welfare tenants, vulnerable tenants and tenants with dogs.”
One of the tenants of the house wrote to support Ms Coote’s appeal, describing the house as “a dream come true”.
They said: “Our landlady has been extremely kind and accommodating in allowing my housemates to move in with two dogs and I also do not have a UK sponsor.
“Plus she allowed my other roommate to stay here even though he’s on welfare.”
Building inspector Martin Andrews gave permission as long as the house is used for four residents.
He said: “The policy is clear that if more than 10 per cent of the dwellings within a 50 meter radius of the application location are already in HMO occupancy, an application of the type denied will not be allowed in this case.
“This does not apply to the appeal as, according to the council’s own analysis, there are currently two HMOs accounting for ten per cent of the total housing.
“Accordingly, the complaints system is not in an area where the 10 percent threshold has already been exceeded, as that is the part of the policy that would preclude further approvals.”
Mr Andrews also dismissed claims the accommodation was not up to standard.
In her appeal, Ms Coote said that despite legal research when she bought the property in 2015, she was told that a license was not required.
She was later told that a building permit was required, which is a separate regime from HMO licensing
Planning officials refused permission to convert the house into a “small multi-use house” because of a directive restricting the density of residential communities in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Ward.
They argued that being granted the permit would mean that more than 10 percent of the homes within 50 meters of 40 Heath Hill Avenue were HMOs, in violation of policy CP21.
The council statement said: “The LPA (local planning authority) has set out through the official’s report why the council believes the development is not in line with guideline CP21 which aims to support a mixed and balanced community and the increasing intensity of HMOs into the area would result in an unacceptable level of damage to local facilities.
“The current layout would also provide a poor standard of accommodation for the current and future residents of the HMO and therefore does not meet the requirements of the City Plan Part Two’s emerging DM20 guideline.”
Moulsecoomb and Bevendean councilor Daniel Yates rejected the motion because of the broader impact another HMO has on the community.
A new policy is expected to come into effect in October when the council votes on the second part of the city plan, bringing HMO numbers to 20 per cent in a larger neighborhood used in the census known as the contiguous spending area limited.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20960143.landlady-wins-appeal-shared-house-bevendean/?ref=rss Landlady wins shared apartment appeal in Bevendean