Decision details

Selective Licensing of the Private Rented Sector.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

Note the findings of the review.
Consider options for statutory consultation.

Decisions:

Consideration was given to a report of the Head of Public Protection which informed the Cabinet that a review of the Selective Licensing Scheme had been completed, in line with the legislative requirements. The existing

designation was in the 5th and final year. The report sought permission to carry out a statutory consultation exercise into the future use of Selective Licensing in Oldham, considering the results of the review into the Scheme and its impact.

 

The Cabinet noted that the Housing Act 2004 gave the power to introduce the licensing of the private rented sector with the aim of improving the management of those properties, to tackle low housing demand or antisocial

behaviour. In 2014 Oldham Council had designated a selective licensing scheme in 8 neighbourhoods which were seen to be exhibiting signs of low housing demand, following a statistical analysis of the whole borough. Low housing demand was where there was a high number of private rented properties, people were moving and only staying for short periods, house prices and rental prices were low, meaning owner occupiers were often in negative equity. This resulted in it being very difficult for a strong community to be developed and maintained in the area.

 

Members were informed that the current designation was due to expire from the 30th April 2020 and therefore another statistical analysis of the whole borough had recently taken place. This review had indicated some improvements in the neighbourhoods concerned and showed that other neighbourhoods were now exhibiting signs of low housing demand.

 

On the expiry of the scheme the Council could not just continue the scheme or introduce another, as it was required to carry out the designation process as dictated in the Housing Act. This included obtaining Cabinet approval to consult on the proposed licence conditions and fees, and this consultation needed to take place for a minimum period of 10 weeks. Once the

consultation had concluded, the analysis and findings would be reported back to Cabinet with any subsequent considerations. Approval was sought to commence the consultation exercise, to establish whether another designation of selective licensing of the private rented sector was

needed and in which neighbourhoods.

 

The Cabinet noted the approach as outlined in the report was part of the Council’s commitment to place-based working and a piece of work was ongoing to establish the preferred model for the deployment of resources, to

enable the strategic approach to wider private sector housing issues across the Borough.

 

Options/Alternatives considered:

·       Option 1: To note the findings of the review of the existing selective licensing scheme. To approve the consultation of the minimum 10-week statutory consultation required prior to designation of any new scheme. To report back to Cabinet on the outcome of the consultation and any further recommendations relating to any new designation of schemes.

·       Option 2: Not to carry out consultation and allow each of the Selective Licensing designations to close at the expiry date.

 

RESOLVED – That:

 

1.     The findings of the review of the existing selective licensing scheme be noted;

2.     The carrying out of the minimum 10-week statutory consultation required prior to any future designation of any new scheme in the neighbourhoods highlighted be approved;

3.     The Cabinet would receive a further report on the outcome of the consultation and any further recommendations relating for any new designation.

4.     The Cabinet would also receive a further report regarding the wider approach to private sector housing enforcement and use of available powers.

Report author: Neil Crabtree

Publication date: 17/12/2019

Date of decision: 16/12/2019

Decided at meeting: 16/12/2019 - Cabinet

Effective from: 25/12/2019

Accompanying Documents: