Decision details

Options for Introducing Further Controls on the Quality of Houses in Multiple Occupation

Decision Maker: Environment Committee

Decision status: Information Only

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


[Councillor English left the meeting during discussion of this Item]


          Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Group Head of Technical Services presented the report to the Committee. He explained that at Full Council in February 2020 a Motion asked Officers to investigate means of improving the quality and standard of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) within the District. At the Housing and Customer Services Working Group meeting on 5 November 2020 Members recommended to Cabinet to continue to research and gather further evidence to help establish whether additional HMO licensing or Selective Licensing of the private rented sector was justified. This decision was approved by Cabinet on 14 December 2020 and Officers instigated the process of procuring the services of a company to undertake the required additional research and provision of a supporting report.


          This report provided a summary of the findings from the research undertaken and set out recommendations for additional controls that could be implemented to manage the quality of HMOs. The research supported the ability of the Council to introduce additional HMO licencing or Selective Licencing in three wards, which were Marine, River and Hotham. Data suggested there were issues of disrepair of houses, anti-social behaviour and deprivation in those wards. Selective Licensing would apply to the whole of the private rented sector, requiring landlords to obtain tenant references as the aim was to reduce anti-social behaviour. Additional HMO licensing would allow properties comprised of 2 or more households and 3 or 4 people to be licenced. In addition, any self-contained flats which were not fully building regulation compliant and in blocks where less than two thirds were owner-occupied would also fall within the additional HMO licencing regime. The benefits of introducing additional HMO licensing in the three Wards would be the requirement of certain amenity standards; to enable a fit and proper person check to be carried out on the Landlord; and to enable the council to undertake proactive inspections, a proportion of which were cost-recoverable under licensing fees. Introducing additional HMO licensing fit within the council’s Vision. The recommendations were then explained to the Committee.


          Members then took part in a question-and-answer session and the following points were made:

·       Clarification was sought on the data, which was provided by the Group Head of Technical Services

·       It was asked what would be considered ‘appropriate action’ in paragraph 1.19. The Senior Environmental Health Officer for Private Sector Housing explained the council already had detailed standards which sat behind the summarised sentence, which were not appended to the report but were available.

·       Was additional HMO licencing expected to resolve issues of disrepair, deprivation and anti-social behaviour? The Group Head of Technical Services explained that the purpose of the licence was to increase the standard of HMOs within the District.

·       It was asked whether the Committee would hear the result of the consultation, which it was confirmed they would.

·       Clarification was requested regarding funding the additional staff and ongoing costs which was provided by the Group Head of Technical Services.

·       Support was offered for the recommendations.

·       It was suggested that HMOs could be required to provide adequate waste storage areas.

·       One Member expressed the view that the number of HMOs in the area should be reduced.



          The recommendations were Proposed by Councillor Bicknell and Seconded by Councillor Thurston.



          The Committee




1.    That they agreed to instigating the consultation process subject to funding being approved for a proposed additional licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation for the wards Marine, Hotham and River, to cover privately rented properties occupied by three or four people making up two or more households and properties converted into self-contained flats that meet the definition of Section 257 HMOs at a cost of £40,000.


The Committee also




1. That a supplementary estimate of up to £40,000 for additional resources to support the consultation process required to implement the additional licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation be approved. This is a Band D Council Tax equivalent of 63p.



Publication date: 28/07/2022

Date of decision: 14/07/2022

Decided at meeting: 14/07/2022 - Environment Committee

Accompanying Documents: