Stoke-on-Trent Selective Licensing Update

by Property 118

10:28 AM, 31st August 2018
About 2 months ago

Stoke-on-Trent Selective Licensing Update

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Stoke-on-Trent Selective Licensing Update

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:

  • Low housing demand (or is likely to become such an area)
  • A significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour
  • Poor property conditions
  • High levels of migration
  • High levels of deprivation
  • High levels of crime

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.”



Comments

David Lovegrove

12:13 PM, 31st August 2018
About 2 months ago

Like in Nottingham , Stoke wish to appear to put aside the views of experienced and compliant landlords preferring to persuade residents that licensing is a good idea .
Stoke have had past and current schemes and have licensed approx 1,100 properties in 7 years but now wish to provide resources to licence a further 5,000 properties in the next 5 years. In the initial consultation officers admitted that ASB is greater now than before licensing was introduced despite spending large sums. If you have tenants , friends, relatives etc that live preferably live in Stoke and are not landlords please ask them to consider objecting to these proposals which contain many anomalies and which to date no debate has been allowed or petitions allowed to be read.
The deadline for responses is Wed 5th Sept.

Luke P

12:32 PM, 31st August 2018
About 2 months ago

Are they seeking Home Secretary approval on this? I thought it was just 20%(?) of a borough that can be licensed without reference to the Home Office, no?

David Lovegrove

20:06 PM, 31st August 2018
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 31/08/2018 - 12:32
No, like most authorities they claim they are licensing just under 20% though that is debatable . No authority seems to have 10% or 21% of its properties as problematic , funny that !

Larry Sweeney

22:34 PM, 31st August 2018
About 2 months ago

Another insult to Landlords,Tenants and the population in general. Here is a prediction. Stoke after a consultation will implement their scheme. Two reasons. Firstly the consultation is a scam and secondly they need to scrounge cash from somewhere. When will the useless landlord associations come clean, and be honest with their members. Lesson Here, council consultations are a scam and bin your memberships of rubbish associations. The only Landlord show in town is Property 118

Worthy

13:06 PM, 1st September 2018
About 2 months ago

Unless I'm missing something, they say they are going to visit every property that is not exempt and discuss with tenants their obligations not just their rights & raise ASB (nuisance & social) issues vs other council schemes elsewhere in the country where they never visits properties at outset or later unless brought to their attention as a problem landlord/property.
I don't know how it's going to be physically achievable for them to visit every PRS property in the Selective Licensed Wards and if they don't & therefore fail to deliver to their side of the contract, would Landlords be within their rights to apply for a refund?

Monty Bodkin

14:57 PM, 1st September 2018
About 2 months ago

Unbelievable! How dare they?
When are these power crazy councils going to be reined in?

"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."

As a homeowner, if a council-cockwomble inspected my home and then proceeded to discuss my obligations regarding anti-social behaviour and threaten me with the consequences, I would use reasonable force to evict them through the nearest window.

But a tenant risks losing their home if they don't allow the inspection and lecture, because their landlord can face a £30,000 fine and criminal record if they don't play ball.

Tenants are not 2nd class citizens, beneath their neighbouring owner-occupiers who aren't subjected to this forced intrusion.

Perhaps Shelter will take on Stoke-on-Trent council as their first discrimination test case?

David Lovegrove

8:28 AM, 3rd September 2018
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 01/09/2018 - 14:57
Monty,
You clearly have read the proposals in fine detail , so i guess you are already aware the deadline for further comments is this Wed at 4pm.
Anyone wishing to help please object by visiting http://www.stoke.gov.uk/selective --it literally takes 5 minutes to complete.
Do you think the authority may compensate landlords if tenants state they are leaving as a result of these lectures ?

Michael Barnes

11:02 AM, 5th September 2018
About a month ago

They plan to visit all tenanted properties.

Have they provided data on proportion visited under existing schemes and how long that took?

David Lovegrove

21:07 PM, 5th September 2018
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 05/09/2018 - 11:02
They certainly have Mike , guess what, a good proportion were never licensed but only 3 prosecutions .
Like most proposed schemes, the authority do not specify the criteria they are relying on to obtain approval but just give pages of statistics and hope one of the allowed criteria's will stick. As the Government are currently consulting on the effectiveness of such schemes this is an area I feel they should address.


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