The Director of Housing submits a report, which requests consideration of the business case for the introduction of Discretionary Licensing within Leicester. The report also provides details of the work undertaken to consult on the introduction of the scheme within the private rented sector in Leicester and recommends the introduction of a Selective Licensing scheme in specific areas of the city.
The Director of Housing submitted a report, which considered the business case for the introduction of Discretionary Licensing within Leicester. The report provided details of the work undertaken to consult on the introduction of a Discretionary Licensing scheme within the private rented sector in Leicester and recommended the introduction of a Selective Licensing scheme in specific areas of the city.
The Assistant City Mayor (Housing and Education) referred to the links to health and wellbeing and the vast difference of suitable accommodation in social housing, with a need for the private rental sector to be improved as many lets were unfit. The role of the Council to support landlords was recognised, and the need for a private rental sector strategy was emphasised.
The Chair commented on the report and advised that it was also due to be submitted to the next Overview Select Committee, where the comments of the Commission would be reported.
The need to ensure that the residents’ opinions were captured and recorded was emphasised and it was noted that a significant number of complaints were received concerning anti-social behaviour, fly tipping and other issues. It was clarified that there was a list of known landlords who would be encouraged to join the scheme, and any ‘rogue’ landlords would also be known to the Council. Tenants would also be encouraged to report any problems to ensure that their accommodation was fit and suitable.
The Chair commented on several issues which combine around HMOs and poor housing in general and referred to the 2019 House Condition Survey which had provided very useful and important information about housing in the city. In response it was reported that for HMOs, the standards would improve under the scheme, as the scheme would set conditions on a licence that were enforceable with input from the tenants being known.
A presentation was then given, which reinforced that selective licensing would give the Council the power to introduce, in a given area licensing for all tenures in the Private Rented Sector except holiday lets, business premises, student premises, Housing Associations and Council Housing and premises where the tenant is a family member. Additional Licensing required Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that had three or more unrelated tenants that shared facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms, to have a licence.
The Commission were advised of the options as follows:
• Selective Licensing within parts of the Wards of Westcotes, Fosse, Braunstone Park & Rowley Fields (West Cluster); Stoneygate (East Cluster); Saffron (South Cluster)
• The combined area covering the schemes covers less than 20% of Leicester’s geographical area and less than 20% of privately rented homes in the local authority area and therefore if adopted would not need SoS permission.
• Additional Licensing that covers the entire City (citywide).
• Additional Licensing within parts of the Wards of Westcotes, Fosse, Braunstone Park & Rowley Fields and Stoneygate.
In terms of the Team structure, it was considered that the arrangements were adequate and shared working and best practice with neighbouring authorities had been undertaken.
1. That the Selective Licensing in the targeted areas (Option A) be supported and should be introduced as soon as practicable.
2. As the principle of Additional Licensing citywide (Option B) is also favourable, that this be revisited once Option A is embedded and there is further evidence of the success of licensing in raising standards in the sector, to allow time for any impact of the potential extension of the Article 4 directive to have been realised.
3. The proposed fees, discounts and penalties be supported.