Update on Nottingham City Council Selective licencing scheme

by Readers Question

11:24 AM, 12th June 2017
About A year ago

Update on Nottingham City Council Selective licencing scheme

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Update on Nottingham City Council Selective licencing scheme

After 2 months I have received a response to my FOI request for more detailed information on the complaints received about private landlords / property in Nottingham City. To recap NCC are proposing a city wide licencing scheme at a cost of £600 per property(43,000 in the city) as they feel there is a problem with the management of private rented property in the city.

They have recorded 4500 complaints about these 43,000 PRS properties over a period of 3.5 years from 2013, but told me they were unable to breakdown what the complaints were and their seriousness as it would be too expensive to interrogate their computer system under a FOI request. I therefore replied suggesting they “interrogate” their enforcement officers who should be able to tell them how many enforcement notices were issued during the same period ( on the assumption that there probably is some correlation!).

So they have now confirmed that there were 1800 enforcement notices issued during the same period which equates to 40% of the complaints received. Meaning 60% of complaints did not require any enforcement. Of the 1800 enforcement notices only 42 led to prosecutions.

NCC currently employ 16 enforcement officers and 16 environmental health officers so on this basis that equates to about 16 notices per officer per year (not a heavy workload I’m sure) and represents 1.2% of the city’s PRS housing stock each year. Why then do they need an extra £25 million from private landlords in the city to deal with this “problem”?

NCC will shortly be reporting to the Secretary of State asking for this licensing scheme to be approved. Nottingham landlords MUST write directly to the S of S if we are going to stop this money grab

Harvey



Comments

Michael Barnes

14:02 PM, 12th June 2017
About A year ago

You seem to be missing the process of Enforcement.

After ascertaining that there is an issue, the first line of attack is to advise the landlord that work needs doing.

If that fails to address the issue, then they issue an enforcement notice.

If that fails, then they move to prosecution.

Your figures show less than 3 weeks effort per notice (given that they have other work, including investigating complaints, and holidays and training), which does not seem unreasonable, given that they need to be legally sound and rigorous, and the additional effort of preparing for and attending court proceedings.

To determine the validity of their case, I believe you (and they) need (at least) the following information:

- Number of complaints that were not upheld
- Number of properties for which complaints were upheld
- Number of landlords against whom complaints were upheld
- Number of complaints upheld in each area of the city

That information would allow a more-objective appraisal of number of bad landlords in the city and whether or not a city-wide system or a more-targeted system is appropriate.

Also, some estimate of how many valid complaints are not made should be provided. Tenants will not complain if they are in fear of physical retaliation by their landlord, or of being forced out of their home.

[note that I am not saying that the council approach is or is not valid; I am merely commenting as a mathematician/statistician on the information that is/should be available to make an informed decision]

Sam Addison

15:05 PM, 12th June 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "12/06/2017 - 14:02":

I agree with you Michael but if NCC employ a total of 32 officers it seems to me that approx 2.5 million pounds would be enough to pay their wages and overheads totally (£78,000 each!) and £60 per property per annum seems far more reasonable to me. Costs of prosecution should of course be paid for by the offenders.

Chris Daniel

19:11 PM, 12th June 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sam Addison" at "12/06/2017 - 15:05":

Licensing Isn't necessary, as with the Housing & Panning Act, L.A's can choose to issue Civil Penalties instead of Prosecution ( up to £30 k ) - so the transgressors of an enforcement notice pay the cost of their mistakes without any court case, and the Civil Penalty goes to the L.A. - which fund their Inspections + enforcement activity.
The Government aren't ' expecting or requiring ' L.A's to implement Licensing.
In fact, since April 2015, they have actually put a limit on implementing licensing for more than 20% of an L.A. area Without Government approval, which they have denied.
The Government have stated that they WILL expect L.A.'s to make use of the H&P
Licensing is Massively resource intensive, doesn't produce measureable and significant, pro-rata results as Harvey attempts to illustrate. Whereas the Civil Penalties and other provisions of H&P target the worse Landlords, and Only they pay for that enforcement ( instead of all the law-abiding good landlords )

Sam Addison

22:49 PM, 12th June 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Daniel" at "12/06/2017 - 19:11":

i am glad to hear all that Chris as our properties are in Greater Manchester and Andy Burnham has been elected mayor with powers over housing.

Michael Barnes

9:32 AM, 14th June 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Daniel" at "12/06/2017 - 19:11":

I agree.
But there was opposition in these pages (https://www.property118.com/april-6th-landlords-fined-30000-without-court-prosecution/96203/) to that process; possibly knee-jerk reaction rather than considered opinion.

Ollie 2000

12:22 PM, 14th June 2017
About A year ago

Could you tell me who the Secretary of State is please?

Neil Patterson

12:56 PM, 14th June 2017
About A year ago

Ministerial responsibilities will be confirmed in due course.
Current role holder: The Rt Hon Damian Green MP

Damian Green was appointed First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office on 11 June 2017. He was elected Conservative MP for Ashford in 1997.
Education

Damian was educated at Reading School and Balliol College, Oxford. He was President of the Oxford Union in 1977.
Career

From 1978 to 1992 he worked for the BBC and The Times, as well as Channel 4, where he was a producer and presenter specialising in business programmes. In 1992 he joined John Major’s policy unit, where he worked for 2 years.
Political career

Damian held a number of positions in the Shadow Cabinet, including Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills from 2001 to 2003, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport between 2003 and 2004 and Shadow Minister for Immigration from 2005 to 2010. He served as Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims (jointly with the Home Office) from September 2012 to July 2014.

He was Minister of State for Immigration from May 2010 to September 2012 and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from July 2016 to June 2017.

Michael Barnes

13:45 PM, 14th June 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ollie 2000" at "14/06/2017 - 12:22":

Secretary of State is a US position.

How is that relevant?

Ollie 2000

15:14 PM, 15th June 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "14/06/2017 - 13:45":

"NCC will shortly be reporting to the Secretary of State asking for this licensing scheme to be approved. Nottingham landlords MUST write directly to the Secretary of State if we are going to stop this money grab" (Harvey).

I am a Nottingham landlord and wondered who I should write to.


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