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Stoke-on-Trent City Council carried out a consultation exercise earlier this year considering the introduction of Selective Licensing in 14 areas of the city to “tackle problems in areas with high levels of privately-rented housing and improve property conditions and the health and wellbeing of residents.”
The Council have published the results of the consultation and provided responses to feedback received.
If you have any new comments to add to the result please Click Here and complete the online feedback form. The deadline is the 5th of September.
Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 sets out the scheme for licensing private rented properties in a local housing authority area. The legislation states that a selective licensing scheme or designation may be made if the area to which it relates satisfies one or more of the following conditions:
The Report states:
“The Council’s proposal is to tackle private rented sector poor property conditions and management practices in 14 areas of the city. If the scheme is adopted, it is proposed that every occupied property within the Selective Licensing area which is not exempt in accordance with the legislation or for other justifiable reasons will be inspected by the Council and surveyed for serious hazards. During the inspection the Officer will discuss with the tenant the Selective Licensing scheme and the management of the property to ascertain the level of management and to ensure that the tenant is aware of their obligations and rights. Issues of anti-social behaviour will also be discussed with the tenant, including the actions which can be taken by the landlord with support from the Council and any actions the Council and the Police can take.
“If serious hazards are identified, the landlord would be expected to undertake the works within a reasonable period of time and a compliance check will be undertaken. If however, the landlord does not comply with undertaking the required works, the case would be referred to the Council’s Private Sector Enforcement Team, then a formal inspection and a Housing Health and Safety Rating assessment would be undertaken. An Improvement Notice would be served; resulting in a charge to the landlord for the time taken to inspect, assess and produce the Notice. If the landlord does not comply with the Notice, the Environmental Health Officer would determine the most suitable course of action. This can include a Civil Penalty, Prosecution and a Prohibition Order depending on the severity of the hazards. If access is not gained for the inspection, a Power of Entry will be served giving sufficient notice to the landlord or agent. If access is still not provided, the officer will apply to the Courts for a warrant to enter the property and the procedures above would follow.
“The aim of this proposal is to improve private sector housing in the city to meet the objectives set out in the Council’s Stronger Together Plan; the Housing Strategy; the Fuel Poverty Strategy; the Homelessness Strategy; the Empty Homes Strategy and various other key strategies and policies.
“It is an aim of the proposal to help these areas become more desirable places to live and increase stability through longer tenancies. By increasing stability this may, indirectly, assist with other matters such as nuisance and social issues. This could support the Council’s Stronger Together priority of working with residents to make our towns and communities great places to live. However, it is important to understand that the Selective Licensing scheme is not being introduced specifically to tackle crime, street anti-social behaviour or fly-tipping.”
“The schemes will consist of 3,048 private rented properties in 154 streets across 14 defined areas. Within the two current schemes there are 876 properties. Added together with the proposed scheme, this equates to 3,924 private rented properties subject to Selective Licensing. The city’s private rented sector housing stock is estimated at 21,308 (Experian 2016) this has been revised due to the duplicate addresses. The recent Private Sector Housing Condition Survey estimates private rented housing stock at 24,532. Taking the lower figure of 21,308, this equates to 18.4% to be licensed if the proposals are approved. If the Council proceeds to Phase Two, a full consultation exercise will be required and following this if the Council wish to proceed, approval would be required from the Secretary of State as stated in the Business Case.”
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