The Executive Member for Regeneration and the Director for Adult Social Care and Health Integration submitted a report for the Executive’s consideration. The purpose of the report was to present and consider the outcome of the ten week public consultation and to recommend that the area of North Ormesby, shown in Appendix A of the submitted report, be re-designated for Selective Landlord Licensing.
An Executive decision was made on 1 September 2020 to commence consultation on the re-designation of a Selective Landlord Licensing Scheme in the North Ormesby Ward.
During the 10 week consultation the following were received:
· 7 telephone calls;
· 22 emails; and
· 60 proforma online responses.
The report attached at Appendix D of the submitted report showed a summary of the e-mail and telephone call responses.
In summary, the majority of the 29 email/telephone responses came from landlords/managing agents with 12 objecting to the scheme for a range of reasons including:
· the cost of the scheme/landlords should not be required to pay it;
· the Selective Landlord Licensing scheme was not effective;
· landlords did not see the expected outcomes;
· landlords did not get enough support from the Council; and
· good landlords were penalised for the behaviour of irresponsible landlords.
The document attached at Appendix E of the submitted report provided a full breakdown of the 60 proforma responses, which were received during the consultation process. An analysis of the 60 questionnaires showed they originated from:
· 3 business owners;
· 8 interested parties;
· 18 landlords in the proposed licensing zone; and
· 31 tenants/residents in the proposed licensing zone.
In summary, the tenant’s proforma responses showed support for the scheme by stating that:
· Selective Landlord Licensing would tackle some of the issues in North Ormesby;
· they agreed with the proposed licence conditions, proposed programmes of inspections and the tenancy support arrangements;
· they agreed that properties were not maintained to a good standard; and
· they agreed that landlords behaved irresponsibly in the letting of their properties.
In summary, the landlord’s proforma responses mostly stated objections to the scheme by stating:
· they disagreed that it would tackle issues in North Ormesby;
· 56% disagreed with the licence conditions;
· there was no clear indication of favour for the inspection programme;
· they supported the additional penalty for late payment of fees;
· there was no clear indication on whether landlords maintained their properties to a good standard; and
· 44% did not agree that the private rented sector was an issue.
Whilst all responses had been fully considered, and responded to, there had been two objections which had received significant consideration. Those were:
· The exclusion of the “Keepmoat” estate area of North Ormesby from the Scheme (see paragraphs 76 to 82); and
· The response from the National Residential Landlords Association (see paragraph 83).
Other potential decisions were presented and rejected at the Executive meeting on 1 September.
Re-designate an amended area within the area of North Ormesby for Selective Licensing and request approval for consultation.
That was not recommended as the current area was considered to cover the locations with the highest density of rented properties in the ward as well as incorporating other factors such as potential displacement of tenants and anti-social behaviour.
Do not renew the Selective Landlord Licensing designation and carry out alternative interventions to replace of a formal scheme
Alternatives to Selective Licensing were considered in 2014 prior to the designation of the current Selective Licensing areas. Those courses of action had been considered and were explained in detail in paragraphs 49-64. Whilst selective landlord licensing was not intended to be indefinite, a shift to an alternative non-regulatory approach or only relying on traditional reactive enforcement tools was not considered appropriate to sustain outcomes or achieve the Council’s objectives. Traditional interventions did not provide the level of engagement with landlords necessary for the desired improvements. Short-term proactive enforcement projects had only a limited impact and were not sustainable without significant investment from existing revenue budgets or grant funding. Selective landlord licensing delivered in a coordinated approach, working in partnership and utilising a wide range of powers was considered to be the most effective means of delivering the Council’s objectives.
In considering the responses received to the consultation it was maintained that the recommended action to re-designate the Selective Landlord Licensing Scheme in North Ormesby was the most appropriate course. The area met the legal criteria for the designation of a selective landlord licensing scheme which was the most effective solution to improving management standards in the private rented sector.
That the results of the consultation and the statutory tests referred to in the report be considered and the re-designation of Selective Landlord Licensing within the proposed area of North Ormesby ward (Appendix A) be approved.
The North Ormesby area met the legal requirements for the designation Selective Landlord Licensing area and re-designation would require all privately rented properties within the identified boundaries, subject to statutory exemptions, to apply to be licensed for 18 up to five years and comply with the licence conditions. The Selective Landlord Licensing scheme in North Ormesby had resulted in improvements in the living and environmental conditions for those living in the area and contributed to reductions in antisocial behaviour.
The scheme would continue to ensure that property standards were maintained, antisocial behaviour issues related to tenants were reduced and managed and that landlords were held accountable for the costs of both licensing and the property management improvements. The existing Selective Landlord Licensing scheme designation was self-financing and, in line with the recommended changes to the scheme, the new designation would work in the same way.
The proposed fee of £745 (plus £20 for the Fit and Proper Person check) enabled the Council to ensure the scheme was self-financing, it was calculated on the staffing requirements for the administration and regulation of the selective landlord licensing scheme.
The current boundary for the Selective Landlord Licensing scheme was to be maintained to ensure complete coverage of the area in relation to improved housing standards, improving environmental conditions and reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour and to avoid any issues of displacement.
The re-designation would allow the continuation of the achievements the scheme had achieved to date, improving living and environmental conditions, reducing anti-social behaviour as set out in the Evaluation Report (see Appendix B of the submitted report).