Agenda item

Private Rented Sector - Update

Please note: there is a joint presentation for the Housing Crisis and Private Rented Sector Items

Minutes:

Tom Gilchrist, Private Housing and Accessible Homes Manager, delivered a presentation (the slides are included in the published pack).

 

The following are some of the key discussion points:

·         Selective and Additional licensing schemes in Bristol

·         Stapleton Road scheme covered 1,226 properties (1,023 Selective licensed and 203 Additional licensed).

o   It ran for five years and was completed in April 2018. 

o   845 (70%) of properties required improvements to meet licensing conditions

o   517 formal and informal notices were served requiring improvement

·         Eastville and St George scheme covers approximately 2,800 properties.

o   It came into force on 1 July 2016 and will run until 30 June 2021.

o   2,454 licenses have been issued so far (selective 2,284 and Additional 170)

o   So far 1496 properties have been inspected and 646 (43%) have required improvements to meet licensing conditions

Discussion about property licensing schemes.  Key points made by Officers:

o   In light of High Court case the license fee must be split into a processing fee and enforcement fee.  The Council is about to begin a 6 week consultation on how to split the existing fee

o   The Council can only use income of property licensing fees for property licensing related issues.

o   The level of fee will go up as it will be administratively more burdensome. 

o   Fee is 1 off payment for 5 year term.  Stapleton road scheme ran small deficit (loss of £90K over 5 years; turnover of £1.2M. 

o   The Council will be commissioning another report to identify areas with serious hazards and poor property management.  This evidence triggers consultation in the areas.

o   By taking a small area the Council can commit to inspecting every property in the areas over 5 years

o   Majority of L/lords wanted us to deal with problem properties bringing areas down.  Combination of large and small landlords involved

o   Government view is that after the 5 year period an Authority will not need to re-designate the same area. Plan is to come back to cabinet with proposals for future licencing schemes.

 

A Member was concerned that that not continuing running the scheme in an area after 5 years may lead to standards slipping.

 

Cabinet Member: The Council is only allowed to cover 20% of the City at one time for licencing schemes, and so it makes sense to move on after bringing an area up to a standard.  The licensing schemes cannot cover the whole city without Secretary of State approval, which has not been provided nationally since 2013. There is a need to justify the set-up of schemes based on evidence, including demonstrating significant risks and management in the areas.  After the 5 year period, this evidence would need to be produce to carry on in the same area.  Other Local Authorities have been challenged using this approach.

 

A Member observed that local people were concerned why Easton was originally chosen for the licence scheme; although there is a general acceptance that it has been a positive in the area.  Consultation is very important; it led to the scheme being successful. 

 

Supporting documents: