Agenda item

Agenda item

Housing Compliance and Enforcement - Performance in 2019/20

Report of the Strategic Director, Neighbourhoods

 

This report provides the Committee with an update on demand for and performance of the Housing Compliance and Enforcement Team during 2019/20.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) that provided Members with an update on demand for and performance of the Housing Compliance and Enforcement Team during 2019/20.

 

The main points and themes within the report included: -

 

·         Data on reactive demand compared to the previous year;

·         Data on service requests based on area and category of complaint;

·         An update on activities to Rogue Landlord Team;

·         Data on formal enforcement action;

·         An update on the Selective Licensing Pilot, noting that selective licensing areas encompassed approximately 2,000 private rented properties;

·         An update on Mandatory Licensed HMO (House in Multiple Occupation), noting that a public consultation was currently ongoing regarding HMO standards;

·         Information on illegal evictions and landlord harassment;

·         Electrical Safety Checks and the duties imposed on landlords;

·         Information on Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) requirements;

·         Describing the impact of the pandemic on the service; and

·         Providing case studies.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         What more could be done through the HMO licensing scheme to encourage landlords and tenants to improve the management and maintenance of their properties;

·         Requesting a breakdown by ward of compliance activity;

·         Welcoming the inclusion of case studies to demonstrate the breadth of work undertaken by the service;

·         All attempts should be made to encourage the return of HMOs to be reverted to family homes;

·         What was the difference between a HMO and co-living models; and

·         Noting the importance of the Rogue Landlord Team and questioning whether more officers were required for the team.

 

The Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety stated that a breakdown of activity by ward could be provided to Members following the meeting. She further acknowledged the work of the Rogue Landlord Team and stated that she would always welcome additional resources to expand capacity within the team. The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration added that the team provided an important service to some of the most vulnerable residents across the city and lobbying for additional funding to deliver this service would continue.

 

In response to the question and comments regarding HMO licensing and standards, the Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety described that the definition of a HMO was prescribed in legislation. She stated that she was confident that the HMO standards and conditions applied in Manchester were robust, however they remained committed to working with and listening to both residents and landlords on this issue. She added that she would also welcome feedback and suggestions on this subject from Members.

 

The Neighbourhood Manager advised the Committee that officers from across different teams met regularly to share intelligence and identify any problematic HMO properties to then agree an action plan. She said this could include inviting in landlords for discussions.

 

The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration reported that work was also currently underway with the local Universities to refresh the Student Strategy that would assist students to access high quality and better managed student accommodation, noting the benefits that could bring to local neighbourhoods. The Chair welcomed this and stated that it was important to recognise the impact of the behaviour of tenants and the management of properties had on communities and neighbourhoods.

 

The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration stated that the aspiration would be to return HMOs back into larger family homes as it was recognised that there was a demand for these in areas of the city.

 

In regard to the question relating to co-living, the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration sated that this was a model of housing that was distinct from HMOs and she made reference to the report that had been considered by Executive at their meeting of 3 July 2020 and the approach to co-living adopted in advance of the review of the Local Plan

 

The Chair concluded this item of business by expressing her gratitude to all staff working within the service for the work they undertook on behalf of the residents of the city.

 

Decision

 

To note the report.

 

Supporting documents: