Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
The purpose of this report was to seek views from Cabinet on the proposed approach to improve housing standards compliance in the private rented sector in the city, and for consideration to be given to endorsing the recommendations within the report.
Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED to recommend to Full Council:
1. Approval of the submission of an application to the Secretary of State for the implementation of a Selective Licensing Scheme for the area defined within the public consultation undertaken between 20 January 2022 and 13 April 2022.
2. Agreement to support analytical work being undertaken to identify areas within the city suitable for the implementation of Additional Licensing Schemes and the subsequent public consultation on proposed scheme areas.
The Council had a statutory responsibility with regards to regulating housing standards in the private rented sector and could do more to improve housing standards through a refocus of the council’s PSHT, a more expansive use of enforcement powers, and the introduction of a blend of licensing schemes, in the rented sector. A previous SLS ended in October 2021 having come to the end of its 5-year period, and consequently there was a gap in the regulatory controls in the locality. Housing standard complaints and officer inspections confirmed there remained properties providing poor housing condition standards.
Option One (Status Quo) - The current service delivery arrangement was not sustainable financially as much of the current staffing was funded out of the previous SLS, therefore without additional revenue the size of the team would have to be reduced to reflect cash limits. The status quo position would rely on the Mandatory Licensing Scheme alone in conjunction with the enforcement sanctions available to officers. If the team were resourced based on the cash limits for 2023/24 there would be insufficient staffing to meet housing compliance needs.
Option Two (Service transformation, no SLS, or ALS) - In this case the service would still needed to be adjusted to reflect cash limits, though with transformation of the PSHT the extent of the adjustment could be mitigated by raising additional revenue from the use of civil penalties to address poor housing standards. This sanction was currently underused. Transformation would in addition increase the effectiveness of the team and lead to better community outcomes. The only licensing scheme in place would be the Mandatory Licensing Scheme.
Option Three (service transformation and introduction of SLS) - This option reflected that proposed within the report other than only a SLS would be progressed with a view to obtaining approval for implementation, the Council would not develop proposals for an ALS at this time and keep matters under review. This did not provide the integrated approach that including ALS would, though would enable a review of third-party delivery arrangement performance before committing to including ALS.
Option Four (service transformation and introduction of ALS) - This option reflected that proposed within the report, though instead of a SLS the Council would pursue ALS instead. In this case it would be necessary to undertake an analytical exercise to evaluate the locality requirements for such a scheme, then undertake a public consultation exercise. If replicating that undertaken for SLS the consultation exercise would take 12 weeks. The Council could make a local determination with respect to ALS implementation. This did not provide the integrated approach that including SLS would.
Selective Licensing Scheme Consultation Document
Selective Licensing Scheme Consultation Report
Publication date: 16/01/2023
Date of decision: 16/01/2023
Decided at meeting: 16/01/2023 - Cabinet