Community Policy and Review Panel
Thursday, 9th June, 2016 7.00 pm - Agenda and minutes

Venue: Concorde Room, Council Offices, Farnborough

Contact: Panel Adminsitrator, Lauren Harvey  01252 398827 Email: lauren.harvey@rushmoor.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman

            To appoint a Chairman for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That Cr. M.D. Smith be appointed Chairman for 2016/17 Municipal Year.

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman

            To appoint a Vice-Chairman for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That Cr. M.S. Choudhary be appointed Vice-Chairman for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 149 KB

            To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 7th April, 2016 (copy attached).

Minutes:

            The Minutes of the Meeting held on 7th April, 2016 were approved and signed by the Chairman.

4.

Redress Scheme pdf icon PDF 103 KB

            To receive Report No. EHH 1614 ‘The Redress Scheme for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc.)(England) Order 2014’, which will provide an overview of the new order and inform Members on how Rushmoor will enforce the legislation (copy attached).

Minutes:

The Panel received Report No. EHH 1614 on the Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc.) (England) Order 2014. The purpose of the Report was to advise Members of the legislation that had come into force on 1st October, 2014. It was noted that the regulations required all letting and management agents to be a member of one of three designated government administered redress schemes.

 

            Members were advised that there were three designated government administered redress schemes: Ombudsman Services Property, Property Redress Scheme and The Property Ombudsman. The aim of the redress schemes were to make letting and management agents accountable for their practices, allowing tenants and landlords to complain to the relevant redress scheme if they were unhappy with the service they had received. Hilary Smith, Private Sector Housing Manager, explained that it was the responsibility of the Private Sector Housing Team to ensure that all letting and managing agents were members of one of the schemes.

 

            It was noted that failure to comply with the scheme could result in a monetary penalty of £5,000, a Notice of Intent and a Final Notice. Members questioned the appeal process and the grounds for an appeal:

 

·         the decision to impose a monetary penalty was based on an error of fact

·         the decision was wrong in law

·         the amount of monetary penalty was unreasonable

·         the decision was unreasonable for any other reason

 

            Questions were focused on the final ground for an appeal, for any other reason. Members expressed the view that they would prefer the legislation to be clear and concise, however, the Panel was informed that there had been no need for enforcement in Rushmoor so it was not known how the “First-tier Tribunal” would respond.

 

            The Panel was updated on the Council’s position and the work the Private Sector Housing Team had done after the introduction of the legislation. This included sending letters to all known managing and lettings agents, publishing details on the Council’s website and making regular checks to ensure all were members of one of the three schemes.     

 

            The Panel NOTED the Report.

5.

Private Sector Housing Survey Update pdf icon PDF 155 KB

            To receive Report No. EHH 1613 ‘Update on Progress of Private Sector Housing Survey’, which provides an update on the Private Sector Housing Survey that commenced on 29th March, 2016 (copy attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received Report No. EHH 1613, which provided an update on the progress that had been made with the private sector housing survey that had commenced on 29th March, 2016. It was noted that there had been an increase in the dependency on the private rented market and some residents had been accepting lower standards, including poor housing conditions, disrepair and overcrowding. This had resulted in the Government recommending a pro-active approach.

 

The Private Sector Housing Team had appointed a qualified Housing Surveyor in March 2016 on a twelve-month contract. The Team had identified twelve high-risk areas by looking at geographical spread, population, age of residents, indices of multiple deprivation and local intelligence.  It was noted that the aim of the survey was to identify houses in multiple occupation (HMO), disrepair and poor housing conditions, overcrowding, to gather further intelligence about Rushmoor’s housing stock and to uncover illegal conversions and identify rogue landlords.

 

Members were informed of what the housing survey had raised so far, including HMOs with no or defective fireproofing, property with severe dampness, trip and fall hazards and defective windows and guttering. It was noted that as each issue had been identified, the Private Sector Housing Team would deal with it, resulting in immediate improvement action being taken.

 

The Panel noted the process that the Housing Surveyor followed in order to gain access to properties. If the surveyor was unable to gain access after three attempts, the Private Sector Housing Team followed an enforcement route, e.g. Notice of Entry or warrant, if disrepair, overcrowding or multiple use was suspected. The information collected would be used to assess the way forward with private sector housing in the Borough.

 

It was concluded that the survey was due for completion on 11th March, 2017, when an assessment would be made of what the Private Sector Housing Team had found, which would then inform the future approach.

 

The Chairman thanked the Private Sector Housing Manager and the Housing Surveyor for the update. The Panel stated its strong support of the work being done by the Team.

 

The Panel NOTED the Report and AGREED to request an update at the end of the survey.

6.

Appointments

(i)         Mid Cycle Meetings

 

To appoint group representatives to attend the mid-cycle meetings for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.

 

(ii)        Health Issues Standing Group

 

To appoint Members to the Health Issues Standing Group for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.  The Group previously consisted of the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith), Vice-Chairman (Cr. M.S. Choudhary) and one Member from the remaining political Group (Cr. M.J. Roberts).  

 

(iii)       Housing Strategy Standing Group

 

To appoint Members to the Housing Strategy Standing Group for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.  The Group previously consisted of the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith) and Crs. D.E. Clifford, Liz Corps, Jennifer Evans and M.J. Roberts.

 

(iv)       Welfare Reform Task and Finish Group

 

            To appoint Members to the Welfare Reform Task and Finish for 2016/17.  The Group previously consisted of the Cabinet Member for Concessions and Community Support (Cr. A. Jackman), the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith) and Crs. Jennifer Evans, A.M. Ferrier and M.J. Roberts.

 

(v)        Registered Providers of Social Housing Review Group

 

            To appoint Members to the Registered Social Landlords Review Group for the 2016/17 Municipal Year. The Group previously consisted of the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith) and Vice-Chairman (Cr. M.S. Choudhary) and Crs. Jennifer Evans and M. J. Roberts.

 

(vi)       First Wessex Housing Group/Rushmoor Borough Council Joint Business Meeting

 

            To appoint Members to the Joint Business Meeting with First Wessex Housing Group for the 2016/17 Municipal Year. In 2015/16, the Group’s membership comprised the Cabinet Member for Health and Housing (Cr. R. Hughes), the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith), the Vice-Chairman (Cr. M.S. Choudhary) and Cr. M.J. Roberts.

Minutes:

The Panel agreed the following appointments for the 2016/17 Municipal Year:

 

(1)       Mid-Cycle Meetings

 

RESOLVED:   It was agreed that Cr. P.F. Rust would attend the mid-cycle meetings in 2016/17 as a representative of the Labour Group, along with the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith) and Vice-Chairman (Cr. M.S. Choudhary).

 

(2)       Health Issues Standing Group

 

RESOLVED:   That the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith) and Vice-Chairman (Cr M.S. Choudhary) and Cr. P.F. Rust be appointed to the Health Issues Standing Group for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.

 

(3)       Housing Strategy Standing Group

 

RESOLVED: That the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith) and Crs. R. Cooper, Jennifer Evans, S.J. Masterson and M.J. Roberts be appointed to the Housing Strategy Group for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.

 

(4)       Welfare Reform Task and Finish Group

 

RESOLVED: That the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith), Crs. Jennifer Evans, A. Jackman and M.J. Roberts, be appointed to the Welfare Reform Task and Finish Group for the 2016/17 Municipal Year, with attendance by the Cabinet Member for Concessions and Community Support (Cr. G.B. Lyon) as required.

 

(5)       Registered Providers of Social Housing Review Group

 

RESOLVED: That the Chairman (Cr. M.D. Smith) and Vice-Chairman (Cr. M.S. Choudhary) and Crs. R. Cooper, Jennifer Evans and M.J. Roberts be appointed to the Registered Providers of Social Housing Review Group for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.

7.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 196 KB

            To note the Community Policy and Review Panel’s draft work programme for 2016/17 subject to review at the next Mid-Cycle meeting (copy attached).

Minutes:

            The Panel noted that the work programme and work schedule would be updated at the first Mid-Cycle meeting of the Municipal Year.