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Brighton Journal | June 25, 2019

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Can we blame students for the lack of affordable housing?

Hannah Midgley

Brighton and Hove Council has recently granted permission for 232 flats in London Road, replacing the building currently housing Boots and the Co-op.

This is part of the 4,000 new homes planned for the city. The student rooms will be spread over several developments, including the Circus Street Complex in the city centre, costing £130m.

Local residents have been quick to react on social media, expressing their anger towards the lack of affordable housing for low-income families. Many people feel invaded by students and left behind by the Council, which allows too many homes to become HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) for private landlords to charge tenants more.

New student housing will replace the building currently housing Boots and the Co-op in London Road.

Some residents are in favour of the new student flats, hoping that the current HMOs occupied by students will be freed up for families to move into.

Student intake isn’t going up, it’s staying the same, the council is allowing these builds to move students out of HMOs and in student accommodation (where they should be, smaller rooms and shared areas, so no good for families). On top of this, the council is planning on being stricter with issuing HMOs for student use, so landlords will have to look for families to rent their properties. If no families are willing to pay the rent then the landlords will have to bring the rent down.

Doug N. on Facebook

Students would stay in Brighton after to continue contributing to the local economy if they weren’t priced out of the area and most of them would love to campaign for lower HMO rents. As to the behaviour of students I can only talk of personal experience where I have never encountered a lovelier group of people who are constantly being judged by what appears to be a minority of ‘hooligan’ students. Most students I know spend a lot of time and effort reassuring landlords of their ability to look after the property.

Lucie G. on Facebook

I think the idea is it will free up more houses for families, especially in areas like Bevendean and across BN2. It’s so hard for families to rent because landlords can make more from students. It’s better for them to be in purpose-built student houses and solves tensions where lots of students in family areas with noisy parties etc.

Mog A. on Facebook
The university of Brighton

Other users, however, pointed out that privately-owned student accommodation tends to charge even more than HMOs, and are therefore not a way to move students away from Brighton houses. A number of former Brighton residents have stated they had to leave their hometown because they could not afford the rising prices anymore.

The biggest problem is that the students accommodation they build is much more expensive to rent and hence students prefer the HMOs, so unless they will be offering these new builds for students cheaper than a shared 5-7 bedroom house there is no real incentive for students to choose them instead.

Recha G. on Facebook

Private landlords currently get extortionate amounts from student renting. Being able to squeeze seven students into a house of box rooms won’t suddenly quarter the price so a family of four can move in.

My partner’s residential studio is in one of the buildings up for demolition to build student flats. The building houses lots of artists and creative people who will not be able to find affordable spaces. But at least students will have somewhere.

Matthew D. on Facebook

It would be nice to see more affordable housing available. I moved north because I can’t afford to live in Brighton, and now my sister is having the same issue, her current options are pretty much rent or buy a caravan.

Charlotte Louise C. on Facebook

Another concern raised by some users is the disruption and dirt that some students bring, as well as the fact that they do not contribute to council tax, therefore bringing less money to the Council.

Brighton is just turning into one big student campus! and the students are making it a dump , they don’t care if rubbish fills their gardens from their overflowing bins etc.

Debbie C. on Facebook

Definitely too many students! Both my neighbours either side are students and there’s plenty of other student houses in my street. I know it brings more money to landlords but they don’t have to pay council tax which keeps going up!

Siobhan G. on Facebook

Other residents, however, are on the students’ side:

The people’s hate for students are absolutely terrible. You would think Brighton is the only place that has universities. I’m guessing none of you here have ever been to university or have kids who go or will go to university. It’s not their fault student accommodation is always being built. Poor guys want to study for three years. They get charged extra high rent.

Alison Morgan

Brighton Journal would love to hear your opinion on the subject – comment down below to let us know what you think.

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