Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-Committee
Tuesday, 19th March, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Contact: Stephanie Davis
020 8726 6000 x84384  Email: stephanie.davis@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

18/19

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 19 February 2019 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 19 February 2019 were agreed as an accurate record subject to the following amendment:

 

Minute 14/18 Trams Update:  The Chair clarified that there had been some miscommunication and the Tram operator was not invited to the meeting on 23 March 2018.

19/19

Disclosure of Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.

Minutes:

There were none.

20/19

Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

21/19

Private Rented Housing in Croydon pdf icon PDF 305 KB

The Sub-Committee is asked to review the information provided on Private Sector Housing in Croydon and consider whether to make any recommendations.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Public Protection presented the report which outlined the impact of Private Rented Sector (PRS) on tenants as well as the wider community and the Council’s response to problems and opportunities. The reports goes on to make a case that the Council’s best option in managing the rise of PRS was for the renewal of the Selective Licensing Scheme.

 

The following further information was provided to Members:

·         There were more people living in the private rented sector than in any other type of dwelling.

·         There was an emerging national picture of rising levels of deprivation and need due to rising rents in PRS.

·         The rise in PRS was unprecedented and presented challenges such as a sematic link between poor housing and poor health.

·         There was a stark difference between market rent and housing benefit, resulting from a four year freeze on housing benefit and a cap which affected people on lower income.

·         People on lower income were most disadvantaged and had more difficulties securing tenancies due to inabilities to pay the high rent of PRS.

·         Some of the issue associated with PRS included insecurity of tenures, risk of homelessness and quality of properties.

·         Selective Licensing scheme enables the opportunity to monitor role of landlord, impact on tenants and impact on Council services.

 

In response to a Member query on the factors behind the rise in rented properties, officers responded that there were many factors including more developers building to rent due to demand. A housing crisis in inner London had resulted in an influx of people moving to outer boroughs.

 

It was noted that forced evictions took place in some circumstances and questions were raised on what protection was in place for tenants. Officers responded that it was important where a Section 21 notice had been served for tenants to contact the Council to check its validity. If the notice was invalid it would be admissible in court and the Council would be able to mediate between the landlord and tenant.

 

A Member asked how much of a problem was experienced with rogue landlords in the borough and what scope there was to monitor activities. Officers said that there was only a small number. There were many good landlords who were dutiful and the licensing scheme had afforded the opportunity to work closely with them. Croydon was a borough with a housing shortage, a large reliance on PRS and it was important to improve relations.

 

In response to a question on the figures of licensed landlords and how many enforcement officers were working on the scheme. Officers confirmed that there was currently 34,000 licenced landlords with an estimate of over 38,000 landlords in the borough. The enforcement team had 25 staff working on the scheme, including administration staff.

 

A Member questioned why the Council initially applied for the Licensing scheme, challenges faced and advantages in renewal. The Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway Services informed the Sub-Committee that issues had been presented for many years regarding the poor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/19

22/19

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

Minutes:

This was not required.