MINUTES OF THE NSC PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSING FORUM HELD ON 17TH JANUARY 2018

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Mar 28th, 2018
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PRESENT: The following members signed the attendance record for the meeting.

Karam Badhen – NLCE

Sean Swords – NLCE

Deanna Swords – NLCE

Keri Blay – NLCE

Sam Jackson – NLCE

Susan Whiter – NLA

Susan Yorkas – NLA

Rob Crawford – NLCE / NLA / ALL WESSEX

Tim Gorton – CONSIDERATE

B. Walsh – NLCE

M. Keeshan – Landlord

Jane Barron – NLCE

Mark Slater – Landlord

Jason Orme  – NLCE

Leslie Green – NLCE

Martin Wride – NLCE

Lorna Wride – Landlord

Les Tolley – Landlord

Mike Reading – NLCE

K. Bennett – Landlord

M.D Murphy – Landlord

W. White – NLCE

S. Steel – NLCE

A. Mason – NLCE

R.T. Crouch – NLCE

R & C Jones – Landlord

H Blyth – Landlord

A Jeffries – NLCE

Mark Terry-Short – NLCE

Sharon Laws – NLCE

Gail Cooke – Landlord

Richard Cook – Landlord

Drew Elkins – NLCE

Mike Ford – Landlord

Andy Mackenzie – NLCE

Steve Lamb – NLCE

Bill Atherton – Landlord

Zac Nicolaides – NLCE

Tony Agar – Landlord

Matthew Thorne – NLCE

Rachael Southcombe – NLCE

Alison Garland – NLCE

Helen Brown – NLCE

Debbie Sharkey – NLCE

Kenn Harrison – NLCE

M. Nicholas – Landlord

J. Cook – NLCE

Monica Hitchings – Landlord

Penny Ashby – Landlord

Michael Paphitis – NLCE

Gill Cox – NLCE

Hannah Jones – NSC

Pip Bodalia – Landlord

Howard Evans – NSC

David Seaton – Landlord

  1. 1. Apologies – Tony Dishkin
  2. 2. Minutes from previous meeting – Deemed to be correct
  3. 3. Matters arising – None
  4. 4. Presentation – Lisa Osborn Private Rented Housing Manager NSC

In depth presentation on the review of the housing conditions in the private rented sector.

The purpose of the review was to examine the extent of poor housing conditions in the Private Rented Sector within North Somerset, to establish if there are any particular areas which suffer from higher concentrations of such properties and to set out the future strategy.

Lisa explained there was a questionnaire to complete alongside the review, however the review should be read in full prior to completion as it details the opinions, proposals, list of roads and will clarify the area to which the review relates.

Q – Have all the properties been investigated for the Additional licensing scheme

A – Yes the investigations are complete and the relevant paperwork is being issued to the relevant persons

Q – Is burning/fires considered a hazard?

A – This would be considered a nuisance and the responsible department to deal with this matter is Environmental Protection.

Q – Most of the poor stock is Victorian stone built houses. A lot of which may suffer with damp and mould. What if the landlord cannot afford to carry out the works to resolve the problem. Are there any grants available?

A – There are low level grants and loans available the loans are provided through working in partnership with Wessex Resolutions. It was mentioned that shouldn’t part of the rental income could be used to improve the standards of the property? Landlords can also apply to City Energy who may be able to assist landlord and tenants to access fully funded energy saving measures to help to improve properties.

Q – Will NSC be taking enforcement action against tenants who cause issues within a property i.e. damp and mould?

A – A new initiative has been put into place called Tenant Passport. Tenants can gain a qualification online on how to manage a tenancy, budget, care for and maintain their property.

Q – Isn’t this a reactive situation? For instance a good tenant moves in and the property is in a nice condition. A bad tenant moves in and then there is a damp and mould issue. How does a landlord explain this to NSC.

A – Category 1 hazards are investigated as they are considered a serious health and safety issue. The Housing Standards Team understand hazards do not occur overnight, and both the landlord and tenants complaints and comments are taken into account to ensure a balanced idea of any damage caused or when a problem started. If it is considered a serious hazard we advise the landlord of the works that need to be carried out.  Any tenant placed by NSC lettings team are educated and given advice and leaflets to enable them to maintain a tenancy

Q – The report focuses on 14% of rented accommodation in central Weston. What about the owner occupiers? Why should landlords improve properties if an owner occupier doesn’t have to?

A – Legislation applies across the board. NSC do serve notice on owner occupiers to improve their properties. An owner occupier has a choice to live in the accommodation with hazards, some tenants do not have this choice. They are not responsible for repairs and the council has a duty to assist tenants if the landlord fails to carry out repairs.

Q – In twelve months from when a tenant moves in, the property is full of damp and mould, hazards and has been damaged by a tenant. What happens in that situation?

A – During the course of a tenancy it is the landlords responsibility to ensure the tenant is conducting themselves in a tenant like manner. An inventory should be taken at sign up and inspections taken place throughout the tenancy. It is also a question of education. If a property is let to someone on a low income is this cost effective to the tenant? Can they afford to adequately heat the property?

Q – Is there any funding available from North Somerset Council to assist landlords with self-regulating?

A – Sam Jackson – The National Landlords Code of Excellence provide a local accreditation scheme. NLCE aims to provide a scheme that recognizes landlords and agents who wish to provide good quality, well managed properties and to encourage the supply of good quality private rented homes. To provide and facilitate information and training for landlords.

To close – Rob Crawford All Wessex congratulated Lisa Osborn and North Somerset Council for an excellent presentation. He was impressed how the council are open to options. He had spoken to other Local Authorities who have a different way of approaching the same issues and advised the landlords of North Somerset not to lose the opportunity.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 11 April 2018 at 18:30 in the Old Council Chamber. 

Please make your way in for the meeting through the main Reception Town Hall entrance, a member of staff will come and collect you.

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