Report of the Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Planning, Licensing, and Housing Services.
To consider the outcome of consultation and report on Selective Licensing and (subject to those considerations) seek to approve or not approve the introduction of a licensing scheme within a proposed designaton/s of the borough.
The Cabinet Member for Planning , Licensing and Housing introduced the report which sought a decision from Cabinet to consider whether to authorise the designation of an area as subject to selective licensing when considering the consultation outcomes, evidence, and prescribed criteria within Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004. This was following the findings of the statutory consultation on selective licensing which ran from 17th May 2021 to 5th September 2021.
The Cabinet noted that more than a third of Haringey’s residents rented their home from a private landlord. The number of privately rented homes was increasing and the Council wanted to ensure all privately rented homes were decent and safe. The private rented sector provided a much needed and valuable source of accommodation for the wide range of individuals, and increasingly families, that require this type of accommodation.
Noted that the new selective licensing scheme fell within all 12 wards to the east of the borough. This scheme would make it mandatory for any landlord renting a property to a single-family household or two unrelated sharers to licence this property with the Council. This proposed scheme will complement the existing property licensing scheme that we have in place for property rented as Houses in Multiple Occupation, which has been in operation since May 2019.
Following decision at Cabinet this will be considered by the Government Ministry responsible for local government.
Questions from Cllr Davies, Cllr Brabazon, Cllr Chandwani, Cllr das Neves, and Councillor Cawley- Harrison, were put forward and the following noted.
- Previous ward boundaries were included, as the consultation had been based on this and the government department agreed to this. There was a look up system available to allow tenants and landlords to add in address and find out if a license is needed or property already licensed.
- Acceptance of the scheme was aimed for. There had been 2 wards taken out as their inclusion would have caused a risk of refusal of the whole scheme. It was noted that the specialists’ advisors , supporting the review of the scheme, had worked with Enfield and Waltham Forest and had a wealth of experience. There had been arm’s length meetings with the ministry and steer provided. Feedback given that strong submission and also having a draft housing strategy with a section on private sector housing was positive.
- Noted that the extra revenue produced will provide for additional officers in the selective licensing team to be recruited. Satisfied extra revenue will enable the enforcement activities to be taken forward.
- With regards to preparing for the scheme, once it was agreed and starts, the plan was to move staff from the HMO Licensing team to the selective Licensing team and also take forward a new recruitment programme to ensure good staffing levels to deliver the selective licensing scheme, should approval be given by ministry .
- Principle of having an agile workforce being taken forward to ensure meet the needs of the project as it progresses and adapt staffing levels accordingly. Considering a separate distinct HR strategy to ensure good recruitment strategy, including apprenticeships to fill posts.
- The submission of other successful borough’s selective licensing schemes was not shared by government and service working with other local authorities and understood what has worked well or not well.
- With regards to the removal of the Stroud Green and Hornsey wards from the scheme, this was taken forward after further considering criteria on deprivation, property improvement, and tackling ASB. On reflection the evidence base for the tackling ASB was not felt strong enough to allow acceptance. Also deprivation levels considered for these wards and they did not meet criteria on indices of deprivation. Harringay and Bounds Green wards met the requirements for indices of deprivation, property improvement and ASB.
(i) Agree the final document requesting confirmation of the selective licensing designation from the Department of Levelling up Housing, Communities (DLUHC) in consultation with the Director
(ii) Ensure compliance in all respects with all relevant procedures and formalities applicable to authorisation schemes.
(iii) Keep the proposed scheme under review during the designation lifetime and agree any minor changes to the proposed implementation and delivery, including administration, fees and conditions and give all necessary statutory notifications.
(iv) Ensure that all statutory notifications are carried out in the prescribed manner for the designation and to take all necessary steps to provide for the operational delivery of any licensing schemes agreed by Cabinet.
Reasons for decision
There has been significant growth in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Haringey over the last 10 years from 23.9% to 40.2 % (Metastreet Ltd ti 2020). This sector offers housing that Haringey values and wants to see as strong, healthy, and vibrant. However, the reality is that many properties within the private rented sector fall short in terms of property condition and its overall management. Our aim is for a better private rented sector that offers security, stability, and decency for its tenants. (See Appendix 1)
It is estimated that of 39,564 properties in the private rented sector in Haringey 11,771 (26.9%)(Metastreet ti 2020) are in poor condition. This is double the national average (13%). In addition, 2,714 complaints have been made to the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team, by private tenants regarding poor property conditions and inadequate property management over the last 5-year period. (See Appendix 1)
Haringey is also a borough with high deprivation levels. Deprivation is lack of income and other resources, which together can be seen as living in poverty. Haringey is recorded in the English indices of deprivation 2020 as the 4th most deprived borough in London, and 49th most deprived in England (of 317)). Haringey has the highest homelessness duty owed of any London borough, the highest claimant rate of Universal Credit in London and the highest unemployment rate in London at 9.3% (ONS 2021). (Sept 2021). (See Appendix 1)
Haringey has high levels of fuel poverty caused by deprivation, the age and condition of its housing stock. As a direct result of deprivation and poor housing conditions, the PRS suffers from fuel poverty. A consequence of this is that it can contribute to residential carbon emissions. The Council has a commitment through its Affordable Energy Strategy and Haringey Climate Change Action plan to reduce fuel poverty and to be carbon net zero by 2041. We know the PRS makes up just under half the housing stock in Haringey, and PRS landlords are therefore key players in helping to achieve these goals.
In the proposed designation there are 29,558 total predicted PRS properties (including Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), of which 4.9% or 1,448 have non-compliant energy performance ratings for the property. As part of the Proposed scheme, we aim to tackle poor energy performance and in turn expect to support those living in fuel poor homes. (See Appendix1)
Selective Licensing is a tool that local authorities can seek approval to use alongside their normal enforcement powers to target specific issues that are affecting the local authority and its community, as outlined in paragraphs 4.1 to 4.4. Our proposal will seek to use these powers to tackle poor property conditions and deprivation.
Selective licensing would allow the local authority to regulate landlords to manage this sector more effectively and through the use of licence conditions under S. 80 of the Housing Act 2004 require landlords to take action to improve the quality of the homes they rent and manage those properties more effectively.
Legislation requires that an area may only be designated if it has a high proportion of property in the private rented sector. Guidance from the Secretary of State provides that this is met where the proportion is higher than the national average, which in England is 19% of the total housing stock. The area must also meet one or more of the following 6 statutory grounds; that it is:
- an area of low housing demand (or is likely to become such an area).
- experiencing a significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour and that some or all of the private landlords letting premises in the area are failing to take appropriate action to combat that problem.
- experiencing poor property conditions in the privately rented sector.
- experiencing or has recently experienced an influx of migration and the migrants occupy a significant number of properties in the privately rented sector.
- suffering high levels of deprivation affecting those in the privately rented sector.
- suffering high levels of crime affecting those in the privately rented sector.
- currently Haringey’s PRS sits at an estimated at 40% well above the national average for England which is 19%.
- Almost 27% of PRS property in our borough has poor property condition, this is double the national average of 13%.
- Haringey is the 4th most deprived borough in London and the 49th in England.
- Just under 5% of PRS property in Haringey fails to have a legally compliant Energy Performance Certificate contributing to the high levels of fuel poverty seen in our borough.