To consider report SHAP/75 of the Head of Strategic Housing and Planning Services, which was referred to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 25 June 2018.
The Cabinet Member for Housing presented report SHAP/75of the Head of Strategic Housing and Planning Services which informed the Cabinet that from 1 October 2018 the legislation governing the mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) under the Housing Act 2004, would be extended to include all HMOs (regardless of the number of storeys) with five or more occupants forming two or more households.
It was noted that the report detailed the expected impact of proposals on the housing services and the change in working practices required to meet the new demands. The report also detailed the proposed fee structure for issuing and renewing the extended HMO’s licenses, which was required to be cost neutral.
The Cabinet commented it was pleased with the approach proposed and that the service would be adapting to meet the new work loads and seemed a sensible and practical method. Members were also pleased that the new duties should allow the Council to regulate the growing HMO’s market across the Borough to ensure that our residents were living in safe and proper properties. It was confirmed to Members that parking related mattered associated to HMO’s was not a licensing element under the new duties.
Councillor Cheshire presented the Overview and Scrutiny Commission’s comments on the report to the Cabinet following consideration of the matter at its meeting on 25 June 2018. The Cabinet noted the Commission’s comments.
Councillor McCarthy also spoke on the item.
That the Cabinet
1. notes the use of the new mandatory duties to license all licensable HMOs, as summarised in sections 4.1 to 4.3 of report SHAP/75.
2. approves the proposed fee structure, as summarised in section 5 of report SHAP/75.
3. notes the proposed changes to working practices to meet the new demands placed on the service as a result of this new legislative burden as set out in Appendix One and agree the appointment of one additional full-time member of staff, to be funded from the additional fee income.
Reasons for the Recommendations
· The legislation extends the mandatory licensing of HMOs, and the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team are legally required to implement it.
· The current fee structure is fair, proportionate and continues to reflect the cost of providing the service.
· Additional resources will be required to meet the increased work generated by the legislation change.