This post is a personal one, having rented in Brighton and Hove for over 12 years I have definitely experienced the bad side of renting in the city and have been out priced of buying in the city, currently having to reside in the suburbs.
The Argus reported today that Brighton and Hove is one of the UK’s least affordable places to live. Lloyds bank has it ranked as 5th, placed only behind Oxford (1st), Winchester (2nd), Truro (3rd) and Bath (4th).
The current house prices within Brighton and Hove are 8 times the national average wage and housing affordability has worsened over the past year as a result of employee wages failing to keep up with the rate of inflation and house prices soaring.
I can use myself as an example of this unaffordability of buying a home in the city. I currently own a four bedroom house with two reception rooms and a good sized back garden just a 15 minute drive or 10 minute train journey away from Brighton and Hove. This home I own is priced the same as a 1 bedroom flat with no outside space in the city.
If you think renting might be the answer to living in the city you would be wrong!
The average rent paid for a home in Brighton and Hove is £1340 per month compared to £953 in Bristol and a meagre £549 in Liverpool.
Brighton and Hove has the 6th largest private rented sector in the UK and has 7 times the number of converted flats. Converted flats, although usually situated in charming period buildings, on the interior often mean a reduction in living space and communal facilities such as the bathroom or the kitchen.
According to the Home Sweet Home campaign many of the renters in the city are actually living in poor conditions experiencing problems such as ‘damp and mould, cold, overcrowding, noise, equipment in a dire state of repair, unfeasibly high fees and arguments over deposits and inventories, and terrible service from letting agents’.
As a response to these figures and the personal ‘horror’ stories from the rented sector in the city the Home Sweet Home campaign (http://southeast.movementforchange.org.uk/home_sweet_home) was set up in July 2013 by a mix of families, renters and landlords all of whom are united by bad renting experience in Brighton and Hove.
The aim of the Home Sweet Home campaign, as set out by its members, is ‘to improve the Private Rented Sector within the city of Brighton and Hove. The campaign began as a way to bring people from across the three constituencies of Pavilion, Kemptown and Hove to improve the quality of Private Rented Sector housing and conduct of criminal landlords and letting agents in the city’.
As stated previously I have been one of the many renters within the city and have experienced exactly what the campaign is setting out to improve. I have lived in 6 different rented properties from 4 different letting agents and never have I received the full deposit back. When considering my last property this was the least of the problems I experienced. In this property I lived with a broken window which was stuck to open and no heating for over a month in winter, these issues were in fact never fixed my tenancy just came to an end.
So why do people put up with high prices, a lack of good honest landlords and letting agents and why am I still saving money to move back?
If you can’t answer this question, you haven’t been to the city of Brighton and Hove and experienced and felt its unique, almost magical, atmosphere!