A number of information updates were provided by Members as follows:
1. Devolution to London
Councillor Doug Taylor (Leader of the Council) advised Members of the continuing discussions that were taking place with London Councils, the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State on how to increase the level of devolution of services to London. The progress made in other areas of the country was noted as was the complexity of the issues for London.
Discussions would continue on a range of issues to explore the opportunities for increased devolution, and to address the difficulties currently being faced. The potential for the future delivery of services at lower cost was recognised. Areas under discussion included those relating to employment and skills such as Job Centre Plus; and, housing and, health and adult social care services.
2. Additional and Selective Licensing Scheme
Councillor Ahmet Oykener (Cabinet Member for Housing and Housing Regeneration) made the following statement to Cabinet:
“On Thursday, 9th July, I announced that the Court of Appeal had granted Enfield permission to appeal the judgment that quashed the decisions taken in April and November 2014, to implement a borough wide Additional and Selective Licensing Scheme.
The decision to grant permission to appeal further supports our view that the appeal was well founded.
Counsel’s Advice has been taken on the merits and the likely success of proceeding with an appeal at this stage, and how this would impact on the Council’s ability to lawfully implement a scheme. We have had to consider the length of time the judicial review process has taken and whether the original evidence base and our reasons for the basis of a scheme are still applicable.
We are also required to address the new legal reforms. From 1st April 2015, two changes were made to the Housing Act 2004 that significantly impacts on how local authorities implement selective licensing schemes.
The introduction of the Selective Licensing of Houses (Additional Conditions) England Order 2015 has extended the eligibility criteria to include poor property conditions, high levels of inward migration, deprivation and crime. These conditions specified in the Order are in addition to the two sets of general conditions contained in the Act (S80 Housing Act 2004) – low housing demand or a prevalence of anti-social behaviour in the private rented sector. Furthermore, the general approval has been amended preventing the implementation of borough wide selective licensing schemes without the prior approval of the Secretary of State.
The Council may be deemed to be acting unreasonably if it fails to take into consideration any procedural requirements stipulated in this new legislative reform.
Furthermore, we have regard to the possibility that the Court of Appeal process may be lengthy and prolonged.
light of these issues, I have asked Officers to review the evidence
base for selective licensing in the private rented sector
including single family rented properties and in relation to
additional licensing of HMOs not already subject to mandatory
licensing against the new legislative framework with
particular reference to the various options and existing measures
available to the council
. This will allow us to consider how
we wish to proceed in addressing any emerging issues and how we can
best improve the quality of the private rented sector in
I reiterate my concerns about increasing areas of privately rented properties in the borough which may not be of adequate standards. My intent is to see an improvement in the management of these properties and a reduction of levels of anti-social behaviour, to ensure good quality properties, respect for the neighbourhoods, while maintaining a good relationship with responsible landlords”.
3. Death of Former Leader of Haringey Council
Councillor Doug Taylor (Leader of the Council) was sorry to inform Members of the recent death of Councillor George Meehan, former Leader of Haringey Council. Cabinet Members extended their condolences to his family.