Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

25.

Apologies

Substitutes are not allowed.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Elise Benjamin and Councillor Gill Sanders.

 

26.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

None.

27.

Private Sector Housing Policy pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Background information

 

The City Executive Board on 11 February 2016 will be asked to approve the draft Private Sector Housing Policy 2016 – 2019 for public consultation.

 

Why is it on the agenda?

 

The Panel has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre-decision scrutiny.  This is an opportunity for the Panel to make recommendations to the City Executive Board.

 

The Panel is recommended to:

i)             Note the content of the report;

ii)            Make any recommendations it sees fit;

iii)           Consider when it may wish to receive any future update on the Private Sector Housing Policy (e.g. post-consultation).

 

Who has been invited to comment?

 

Councillor Bob Price, Leader and Board Member for Regulation and Licensing of Private Rented Sector

Ian Wright, Environmental Health Service Manager

Michael Browning, Private Sector Safety Team Leader

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Environmental Health Service Manager introduced the report.  The Panel heard that Oxford had a relatively high proportion of private rented accommodation and relatively low levels of owner-occupation.  In an otherwise deregulatory era, Government was strengthening the regulation of this sector.  The new private sector housing policy sat under the Council’s Housing Strategy.

 

The Panel asked a wide range of questions, including about; how the Council can identify other properties owned by landlords, whether more could be done to return empty properties to use, what was being done to address the issue of beds in sheds and how any priority area for the selected licensing of non-HMO private rented sector accommodation would be evaluated.  The Panel heard that the Council would need permission to introduce a selective licensing scheme covering more than 20% of the geographical area of the city.  Any assessment of priority areas for selective licensing would be based on how best to maximise the stock that would be covered by the scheme, as well as the volumes of service requests and reports of anti-social behaviour in different parts of the city.  Ideally the sector would pay for its own regulation, as happens with HMO licensing.

 

The Panel questioned how tenants in the private rented sector would be encouraged to engage in the consultation and heard that this was a challenge with the exception of students as private rented sector tenants were disparate and not formally organised in groups. 

 

The Panel noted that the Council’s primary focus to date had been on regulating the houses in multiple occupation (HMO) market.  The Panel questioned the links and information sharing between the HMO enforcement and planning enforcement functions and found that the while some checks were in place, the Council could not legally refuse a HMO license application on the basis that planning permission had not been sought or granted.  Refusals could only be based on the condition of the property and a fit and proper person test.

 

The Panel questioned what could be done to address the issue of rubbish or bulky items being left outside HMOs, for example when students vacate these properties at the end of term.  The Panel heard that there were various enforcement options the Council could use, including serving a notice on the landlord to remove items within 7 days and the option of works in default, where the Council could remove the items and bill the landlord.  In the event that the landlord then refused to pay, a charge could be held against the property until such a time as it was sold. 

 

The Panel questioned how residents could report an unlicensed HMOs or an HMO in poor repair and heard that this facility was available online. 

 

The Panel agreed to scrutinise a refresh of the Council’s Empty Property Strategy and will have the opportunity to scrutinise the Private Sector Housing Strategy again following the public consultation.

 

The Panel supported the general approach taken and agreed to make five recommendations to the City  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Externally Leased HRA properties - Rent Setting pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Background information

 

The City Executive Board on 11 February 2016 will be asked to agree rent setting as set out in paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 of this report. 

 

Why is it on the agenda?

 

The Panel has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre-decision scrutiny.  This is an opportunity for the Panel to make recommendations to the City Executive Board. 

 

The Panel is recommended to:

i)             Note the content of the report;

ii)            Make any recommendations it sees fit.

 

Who has been invited to comment?

 

Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing

Dave Scholes, Housing Strategy and Needs Manager

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Housing Strategy and Needs introduced the report.  He explained that the formula for rent increases on HRA properties leased to partner organisations was based on the target rent formula that had previously been applied to Council houses with up to five bedrooms.  The Panel questioned the impact of the rent increases on partner organisations and supported the approach outlined in the report.

 

29.

Update on the Review of Older Persons Accommodation /Review of Sheltered Housing

 

 

Background information

 

The Panel considered a report on the Review of Older Persons Accommodation / Review of Sheltered Housing in December 2014 and made 6 recommendations, which were all accepted.

 

A City Executive Board (CEB) decision on the Review of Older Persons Accommodation / Review of Sheltered Housing is now expected to be taken in March 2016. 

 

Why is it on the agenda?

 

For the Panel to receive a presentation on the Review of Older Persons Accommodation / Review of Sheltered Housing.  The recommendations of this review, which will inform the CEB decision, will be set out and explained in the presentation. 

 

The Panel is recommended to:

     i)        Note the content of the presentation;

    ii)        Make any recommendations or suggestions that it sees fit to;

   iii)        Consider whether to pre-scrutinise the CEB report in March.

 

Who has been invited to comment?

 

Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing

Dave Scholes, Housing Strategy and Needs Manager

 

 

Minutes:

The Head of Housing Strategy and Needs provided a presentation on the review of OP housing, which made thirteen recommendations.  The Panel heard that a report would be presented to the City Executive Board (CEB) in March but that a draft report would be available and could be circulated to members soon. 

 

The Panel made the following comments:

  • variations in life expectancy in the city should be factored in to age growth projections;
  • the Tenant Scrutiny Panel should be updated and engaged with;
  • the Age UK Home Share scheme, once approved, should be promoted in the Older Persons’ Guide and on the Council’s website.

 

The Panel supported the approach being taken and agreed not to pre-scrutinise the CEB report at the March Panel meeting.

 

30.

Housing Panel Work Programme pdf icon PDF 79 KB

The Panel is recommended to:

i)             Note and agree its work programme;

ii)            Agree to schedule a joint session with the Tenants Scrutiny Panel on 11 April 2016 to consider a report on Tenant Involvement, as well as any items scheduled for March that slip to April;

iii)           Note and comment on the provisional Housing Panel meeting dates for 2016/17.

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Panel noted its work programme and the provisional meeting dates for 2016/17. 

 

The Panel agreed to hold a joint session with the Tenant Scrutiny Panel focused on Tenant Involvement on 11 April 2016.

 

31.

Notes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 68 KB

For the Panel to note the record of its meeting on 10 December 2015.

Minutes:

Noted.

32.

Date of next meeting

9 March 2016, 5pm

Minutes:

Noted.

33.

Conf Externally Leased HRA properties - Rent Setting - Confidential Appendix

Minutes:

The Panel did not discuss the confidential appendix.