Mandatory HMO Licensing update
- Meeting of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 17th July, 2019 2.00 pm (Item 10.)
Report of the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods
This report provides the Committee with an update on Mandatory Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing.
The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods that provided information on the approach taken to deliver the extension to mandatory licensing nine months after the scheme had been implemented.
The Strategic Lead, Community Safety, Compliance and Enforcement referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -
· Providing a background to Mandatory Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing, noting that in 2018 legislation was amended and now required properties let to 5 or more people from 2 or more households who share amenities (kitchens and bathrooms) to be licensed by the local authority;
· Information on the work to identify Licensable HMO properties;
· Engagement with Landlords;
· The impact of Landlord Licensing, noting that Pre-licensing inspections were carried out before a licence was issued and compliance inspections were then undertaken during the course of the licence to determine whether the conditions of the licence were continuing to be adhered to; and
· Noting that the Housing Compliance and Enforcement Team were working closely with Strategic Housing and the Executive Member for Housing to refresh the Private Rented Sector Strategy.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Were there any intentions to extend Selective Licensing to other areas of the city;
· Were temporary accommodation properties that were HMO’s inspected and subject to the same conditions;
· What was being done to improve the number of properties identified as HMO’s, noting the number of visits undertaken compared to the numbers identified;
· Had the benefits that Selective Licensing was intended to bring to neighbourhoods been realised;
· How could residents report a suspected HMO; and
· Could the number of licensed HMO’s be provided by ward.
The Strategic Lead, Community Safety, Compliance and Enforcement commented that a further, detailed report on Selective Licensing was scheduled for consideration by the Committee at their February meeting. She advised that this report would include the detailed specific information that had been requested, however she commented that initial observations from the Crumpsall pilot, which has been running the longest, were that the Selective Licensing scheme appears to have been successful with positive feedback from residents, the local neighbourhood team and Members, noting however that Selective Licensing is only one aspect of neighbourhood management. She advised that consideration would be given as to where any future focused schemes would be implemented.
The Strategic Lead, Community Safety, Compliance and Enforcement stated that information on the number of all licensed HMO properties was available and would be circulated to Members.
The Neighbourhood Manager, Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Housing informed the Committee that where temporary accommodation properties met the criteria for licensing as an HMO they were subject to HMO conditions and property inspections were done.
She stated that the initial exercise to identify properties that are now required to be licensed as HMOs had been done using desk top information which was available at the time. The intention is now to focus more on local intelligence and knowledge from a wider range of sources. A Member commented that there was a useful tool on the Council’s website that allowed residents to check if a property had a licence and report any suspected non licensed properties.
The Neighbourhood Manager, Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Housing further advised that all HMO properties were inspected prior to a licence being issued and periodic inspections were carried out throughout the life of the licence period. She commented that if there were any concerns a licence could be granted for a lesser period than five years, however the cost of the licence remained the same.
To note the report.
- Mandatory HMO Licensing update, item 10. PDF 139 KB
- Appendix 1, item 10. PDF 15 KB
- Appendix 2, item 10. PDF 203 KB