Leader of the Council – Minutes – 20 September 2018

2 (2) REGULATING THE PRIVATE RENTED HOUSING SECTOR – The Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report to appraise members on the outcome of the consultation on selective licensing, to update members on current and proposed changes to the regulation of the private rented sector and to seek approval for the proposed recommendations.

The Crosby and Park and Town Wards within Scunthorpe North had a large number of high-density terraced properties, a high proportion of private renting and a transient population many of whom do not speak English as their first language. This emerging community lived alongside many established residents who perceived that the quality of their local environment had deteriorated in recent years.

A number of factors taken together impacted on this area which increased dependency on council and partner services. This need was disproportionate compared to other areas of North Lincolnshire. This impacted on the council’s ability to achieve the outcomes of safe, well, prosperous and connected. A number of the factors which drove this need were listed in the report at paragraph 2.2.

In response to the issues in Scunthorpe North, Cabinet requested that the introduction of a scheme for Selective Licensing within the private rented sector be considered. A consultation on the proposal started in September 2017. There were many opportunities for stakeholders to have their say, with a significant number of events and meetings with landlords, tenants, businesses and the local community. The results of the consultation were attached to the report at Appendix 1.

The key consultation outcomes were detailed in the report at paragraph 2.4 and the consultation exercise had proven to be a positive opportunity to engage with good landlords in the area.

Since commencing the consultation on selective licensing the Government had introduced changes to the mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO). This meant that properties within both Scunthorpe North and the wider North Lincolnshire that previously were out of scope may now require a licence.

Coupled with mandatory HMO licensing across North Lincolnshire the council introduced a scheme of additional licensing of 3 or more occupants in Scunthorpe North. Additional licensing together with the current mandatory licensing of HMOs, would require all HMOs to be licensed in the area. Single-family homes would remain out of scope. This option was likely to be particularly popular with those landlords that had been part of the consultation process.

The changes to mandatory HMO licensing would come into effect on the 1 October 2018. If additional licensing be introduced, this would require a period of consultation to comply with the legal process around designation.

The Government had also recently introduced a raft of new controls aimed at targeting and driving out rogue landlords from the private rented sector. The council were in the process of adopting a number of measures, including civil penalty notices and rent repayment orders.

An inspection would be undertaken on properties, a licence issued or not (from 1 to 5 years depending on standards) and a fee reflecting full cost recovery charged. An accredited list similar to environmental health ‘scores on the doors’ would be held.

Resolved – (a) That the consultation outcomes and changes within the wider regulatory landscape and the new opportunities it presents to take a graduated approach to the issues within the private rented sector in Scunthorpe North be considered, and (b) that option 2 of the report be approved.

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