We want to make sure that residents are able to live in decent quality homes suitable for their needs. To do this, our Housing Strategy 2015 priority to Improve Housing Quality focusses on 4 strategic themes:
Make sure the city has Decent Warm & Healthy Homes
We will continue to work with West Sussex County Council in developing a model for delivery of Green Deal / Energy Company Obligation funding and with Your Energy Sussex on an ECO funded boiler replacement and heating scheme for vulnerable householders, and continue to explore other funding streams. We are developing the HRA Asset Management Strategy and HRA 30 Business Plan which are key documents to support the Council’s Local Housing Investment Plan. The strategy and business plan are due to be consulted on this autumn with the aim that they are approved by February 2016.
Make sure long term Empty Homes are back into use
We will continue to bring long-term private sector empty homes back into use through our successful system of identifying, and making and maintaining contact with all owners of empty homes. The revised Empty Property Strategy is in development and is expected to be launched during the latter part of this financial year. The Empty Property Enforcement Protocol is in development which will further clarify and strengthen the use of enforcement action in bringing private sector empty homes back into use. In addition we will continue to explore additional funding opportunities and consider empty commercial properties as a potential source of new housing
Improve standards in the Private Rented Sector
With Government funding for private sector renewal having ceased we will continue to explore other funding initiatives and be innovative in how we can improve the quality of housing in the city. For leaseholders in the city we will promote commonhold ownership which will support the improvement of leasehold properties. We will improve the standards for people living in privately rented homes by developing an ethical standard for letting agents including a commitment to equalities and diversity, a ‘living rent’ scheme where rents are linked to wage inflation, and longer tenancies to support family stability. In addition we will support a register of landlords in the city and help landlords to better manage their properties including up skilling small and accidental landlords to improve tenancy management.
Improve the quality and management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
From October 2015 we will be extending Additional HMO Licensing to 7 further wards in the city - Brunswick & Adelaide, Central Hove, East Brighton, Goldsmid, Preston Park, Regency and Westbourne. Smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation in these wards of two or more storeys and three or more occupiers, will need to be licensed from October 2015.