A report from the Executive Director – Place is attached. (Key decision – reference number 5144)
Councillor George Savva (Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulatory Services) introduced the report of the Executive Director Place seeking the approval of the Enforcement Policy for enforcement in the private rented sector, which was supplemental to the Enfield Enforcement Policy approved in 2016.
1. The report details how the Council will regulate private rented sector housing standards in the borough and sets out a staged approach to non-compliance.
2. Financial penalties were involved but these would not replace the option of prosecution if necessary. Penalties would range from £500 to £30,000, depending on the seriousness of the offence.
3. The policy would give officers more robust powers to enforce standards, to ensure that tenants have a decent place to live. It will also protect landlords.
4. Thanks were offered to Doug Wilkinson, Sue McDaid, Tina Fasi and all the other officers who had worked so hard to bring this scheme about.
5. The policy supplements the Enfield Enforcement Policy approved in 2016 and would come into effect in September.
6. The Council would be working with landlords to provide informal advice and to help them to improve properties as necessary.
7. The policy set out the enforcement options and the notices which will have to be issued. It also included the means to find out if landlords and agents meet a fit and proper test.
8. The capital works programme was in place to improve the council housing stock to make sure council housing as well as temporary accommodation used by the Council also meets the standards.
9. Energy consumption standards would be set at the Government standard which was a minimum of E, but there were plans for this to be raised to D in 2025 and C in 2030. This would help address climate change, align with the Climate Action Plan and help reduce the costs for people living in these accommodations.
10. The Council was waiting for Government approval of their selected licencing scheme. This was now with the Secretary of State and the Council were hopeful that it would be approved soon. The Council had done everything they could to help get the scheme approved and had also received support from local MPs, for which they were grateful.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, that there were no viable alternative options. To not have a specific Private Rented Sector Housing Enforcement Policy in place could potentially lead to an inconsistent approach in the exercising of the Council’s enforcement duties and approach to enforcement decisions which could leave the Council open to legal challenge.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to
1. Approve the Private Rented Sector Housing Enforcement Policy at Appendix 1 to the report, which detailed the principles and processes to regulate and improve housing standards in the private rented sector in the borough.
2. Delegate to the Executive Director Place and in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulatory Services, to make any minor amendments to the Private Rented Sector Housing Enforcement Policy.
Reason: It is considered best practice to have an agreed and published Private Rented Sector Housing Enforcement Policy, which had regard to the Regulator’s Code, and also encompasses the latest legislation on licensing and sanctions against non-compliant landlords and property agents.
(Key decision – reference number 5144)