To present an update report to the Houses in Multiple Occupation policy (Report of the Executive Director – Place enclosed)
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director – Place. Which sought to provide an update to Houses in Multiple Occupation.
The Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health introduced the report. It was stated that the Spalding Voice had featured an article about the prosecution of The Chequers, which it was hoped would prove an example of enforcement
It was stated that the new regulation was removing the stipulation that a HMO had to be a property which was 3 or more stories.
Phase 1 of the changes was due to begin in October which was when the Policy would be implemented. Landlords who were not previously subject to licenses would not be prosecuted immediately and would have a grace period to obtain a licence. It was stated that some reports would have to go to Council for approval but that, generally, progress was good.
The Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health stated that she would ask that members feed back to officers if they knew of any HMOs
The Chairman stated that he was pleased with the information given
Members asked what happened to individuals living in properties which were prosecuted. The Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health stated that they would need to vacate the property, as it would be deemed unsafe, but that these people would be pointed toward housing advice and given the necessary support to aid them in finding new accommodation. Officers stated that here was a homelessness team and policies in place to resolve such issues. Officers also stated that when enforcement took place it was hoped to be about making the property owner comply rather than to deny a licence immediately.
Members asked that because the new HMOs would be so difficult to find, if there were any other identifying factors that could be used to find offending properties. Officers stated that they would rely heavily on individuals such as Post Office staff and neighbours and that HMO properties were often uncared for and run-down, more so than neighbouring properties. The Chairman stated that refuse collection staff could also be a valuable resource for identifying such properties.
Members asked a number of questions to Officers;
· How the policy was being publicised.
· If the new figure of 1200 HMOs in the district included the properties which would fall under the new legislation and if these buildings would be written to to inform the owners that they would need to comply; and
· If employment agencies would be notified and told what the changes were.
Officers stated that they would get back to members with the answers to these questions
Members asked if this policy would include Caravan sites used to house workers. Officers stated that they would not be included and that this was a separate type of license
The Chairman asked when the new legislation would be implemented, the Place Manager stated that the 1st phase would begin on 1st October 2018 but that she would get back to Members on this to confirm.
The Chairman asked that the policy document be brought to the meeting in September
a. That the report be noted.
b. That the Houses in Multiple Occupation policy be brought to the Policy Development Panel on 19 September 2018