Report reference BHP31
The Service Lead, Strategic Housing & Senior Private Sector Housing Officer introduced the report, ref BHP31 which set out proposals for the Private Sector Housing Renewal Strategy, (available here).
The committee was recommended to:
1. Review and provide comment on the direction and priorities of an early draft of the Private Sector Housing Renewal Strategy 2022-27.
2. Support the council exploring the possibility of implementing a private sector housing ‘Grant Assistance Fund’ targeted at providing financial assistance through grants or loans to fund essential repairs for owners and landlords who qualify under agreed criteria.
The committee proceeded to ask questions and debate the report and in summary, the following matters were raised.
1. Were landlords supportive of the council’s Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing and accreditation scheme and were there sufficient resources within the council to manage the scheme?
2. Could further information and contact details be provided to members regarding the council's “Energy Officer”?
3. Could the source of funding for the proposed ‘Grant Assistance Fund’ be explained?
4. Had the introduction of the Article 4 in Stanmore and Winnall addressed the issues experienced by residents and how do we minimise the impact of HMOs in the future?
5. Could the section “Working with local partners”, paragraph 11, page 27 be expanded to give more detail on what the council was doing?
6. Would tenants in properties that might qualify for energy efficiency measures/funding have recourse if their landlord was not supportive of the works being undertaken and did the council have powers to encourage landlords to make their properties more energy efficient?
7. Could paragraph 2.8, page 22 be expanded to give some detail on how the council would help landlords with a smaller number of properties to keep up with legislation changes?
8. Should the council be undertaking additional or selective licensing of HMOs?
9. Should the paper be referring to both Southampton and Winchester Universities?
10. Regarding the action plan, should priority 2 “Improving housing conditions in the private rented sector” become priority 1?
11. Could further information be provided regarding the links with local healthcare teams and the NHS to support tenants leaving hospital?
12. Several members were not supportive of establishing the Grant Assistance fund at a time when resources were limited, they felt that the primary responsibility was the landlords and that the council's role was to signpost and support access to other funds.
13. Was data available to compare the energy efficiency of the private sector and council properties at either a district or ward level?
14. Was there a trend in landlords selling properties that were previously rented and was there a trend for private rented sector properties moving to an Airbnb-type platform and could the reduction in the number of private sector rented properties be quantified?
15. That some references to Winchester in the document should read Winchester district.
These points were responded to by the Strategic Director, the Service Lead, Strategic Housing & the Senior Private Sector Housing Officer accordingly and were noted.
1. That officers consider the comments of the committee as part of the next stage of policy formation and in particular review points 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 and 16 (above) and update members accordingly.
2. That regarding the grant assistance fund, the committee felt that the primary responsibility lay with the landlord or owner to fund essential repairs but that the council should provide support and signposting. That the council's primary responsibility was with its own properties and then if appropriate to private sector properties.