Agenda item - Private Rented Sector Licensing Schemes

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Agenda item

Private Rented Sector Licensing Schemes

Report of Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities and Housing (copy attached).

 

Decision:

1)       That consultation for the proposed fee structure for a Selective Licensing Scheme is approved.

 

2)       That consultation for the updated fee structure for an Additional HMO Licensing Scheme is approved.

 

3)       That the updated fee structure for the National Mandatory Scheme is approved.

 

4)       That subject to consultation with landlords, allow for an option of reduced fees for those landlords who are signed up to a ‘good landlord accreditation scheme’, with reductions made on the basis that ‘good landlord’ licenses will be less costly to administer and enforce.  

 

5)       That the draft Selective Licensing Scheme conditions attached at Appendix 1 be noted for consultation. 

 

6)       That the draft updated Additional HMO Licensing Scheme conditions attached at Appendix 2 be noted for consultation.

 

Minutes:

7.1     The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing which outlined the proposed fee structure for a Selective Licensing Scheme and an updated fee structure for the Mandatory and Additional Licensing Schemes; outlined proposals to harmonise the current HMO fee structures; presented conditions for a Selective Licensing Scheme and updated conditions for the Mandatory and Additional Licensing Schemes and highlighted the approach to consultation due to take place in Summer 2017. The report was presented by the Head of Housing Strategy, Property & Investment.

 

7.2     Councillor Gibson set out an amendment from the Green Group as follows:         

 

“That the recommendation 2.4 be added, with text added as shown in bold italics, and the original 2.4 be re-ordered to 2.4 and 2.5, so that the report reads as follows:

 

That the Housing & New Homes Committee:

2.3 Approve the updated fee structure for the National Mandatory Scheme.

2.4 That subject to consultation with landlords, allow for an option of reduced fees for those landlords who are signed up to a ‘good landlord accreditation scheme,’ with reductions made on the basis that ‘good landlord’ licenses will be less costly to administer and enforce.

2.5 Note for consultation the draft Selective Licensing Scheme conditions attached at Appendix 1.

 

2.6 Note for consultation the draft updated Additional HMO Licensing Scheme conditions attached at Appendix 2.”

 

7.3     The amendment was seconded by Councillor Phillips.

 

7.4     Councillor Hill commented that the objective of the amendment was already covered in paragraph 3.15 of the report. The Council was very open to offering such a discount. However, there was a need to demonstrate that it would save the council money.

 

7.5     Councillor Mears supported the amendment and stressed that it was important to encourage good landlords. The proposal needed to be stated more clearly than in paragraph 3.15.

 

7.6     Councillor Moonan welcomed the report and considered it was an excellent piece of work. She referred to the consultation and stressed that the residents the council most wanted to hear from were likely to be the hardest to reach and the least likely to take part.  These were people in rented accommodation which was not up to these standards. How would officers ensure that their voice was heard? The Head of Housing Strategy, Property & Investment explained that there was an open portal to take feedback.  Officers wanted to go out to residents’ groups. In addition to that, officers would carry out door to door surveys as well as leaflet drops to encourage responses. In the past officers had spoken to interested parties such as Local Action Teams and to the universities and students unions to get feedback from different groups of people.  Officers would listen to councillors if they felt officers were not talking to the right people. 

 

7.7     Councillor Atkinson welcomed the report. Selective licensing would be of enormous benefit to local people. He had read the concerns of the Landlord’s Association and he was sure their concerns could be fed into the consultation. Councillor Atkinson stressed that many other professions required registration and he mentioned nursing as an example.

 

7.8     Councillor Gibson appreciated the hard work in delivering the report. Landlord licensing was a good way to improve standards and he wholeheartedly supported the proposals. Councillor Gibson queried paragraph 1.1 and 1.2 in Appendix One on page 33 of the agenda concerning references for prospective tenants. The report stated an example of where it might not be possible to obtain a reference.  Councillor Gibson considered that there were other examples and he would like to hear of these as well.  Councillor Gibson referred to Appendix 1, paragraph 10.1 on page 35 which stated that “the licence holder must ensure all reasonable and practical steps are taken to respond to repair and maintenance issues…” It would be helpful to give more guidance as to what was considered reasonable.  The Head of Housing Strategy, Property & Investment replied that he would take on board these comments and would look at how the council could be clearer with regard to these issues.

 

7.9     The Committee unanimously agreed the recommendations as amended in paragraph 7.2 above.

 

7.10    RESOLVED:-

 

(1)      That approval is granted for consultation on the proposed fee structure for a Selective Licensing Scheme.

 

(2)      That consultation for the updated fee structure for an Additional HMO Licensing Scheme is approved.

 

(3)      That the updated fee structure for the National Mandatory Scheme is approved.

 

(4)      That subject to consultation with landlords, allow for an option of reduced fees for those landlords who are signed up to a ‘good landlord accreditation scheme’, with reductions made on the basis that ‘good landlord’ licenses will be less costly to administer and enforce. 

 

(5)      That the draft Selective Licensing Scheme conditions attached at Appendix 1 be noted for consultation. 

 

(6)      That the draft updated Additional HMO Licensing Scheme conditions attached at Appendix 2 be noted for consultation.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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