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5 Jul 2005 : Column 306W—continued

Houses in Multiple Occupation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment the Government have made of the effect of the licensing of houses in multiple occupation on the buy to let housing market. [7440]


 
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Yvette Cooper: The Government take the view that proportionate regulation of the private rented sector targeted at the properties most at risk will raise standards in the sector and lead to more investment. The Government have already undertaken to review the success of the licensing regime within the next three years. This will cover the effect on the buy to let market as well as other areas within the private rented sector.

Investment in the private rented sector is however principally determined by the markets long term judgment of the returns expected from residential property.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what criteria will be used to decide which rental properties in the private sector are subject to licensing for houses in multiple occupation. [7441]

Yvette Cooper: The Housing Act 2004 requires the mandatory licensing of larger, higher-risk housing of multiple occupation (HMOs). Following consultation, the Government have decided that this will cover privately rented HMOs of three or more storeys and occupied by five or more people who form two or more households. This decision was announced in a statement made by my right hon. Friend the former Minister for Housing and Planning on 6 April 2005.

Local authorities will also have discretion to extend licensing to smaller privately rented HMOs in all, or part of their area, to address particular problems caused by the ineffective management of those HMOs. The use of this discretionary power is subject to consultation and requires confirmation or general approval by the Secretary of State.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)whether the timetable for publication of the final Code of Guidance on minimum standards in temporary accommodation has changed; and if he will make a statement; [6412]

(2) what the final date was for submissions to the consultation on the Code of Guidance on minimum standards in temporary accommodation; [6413]

(3) when he plans to publish the statutory Code of Guidance on standards in temporary accommodation for homeless households. [6414]

Yvette Cooper: In May 2003 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published a consultation paper on Improving standards of accommodation for homeless households placed in temporary accommodation." The consultation period ended on 5 August 2003. In November 2003 we announced the outcome of the consultation and our intention to revise the statutory Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities to restate existing minimum standards for temporary accommodation and set out additional standards for bed and breakfast hotels used as temporary accommodation. We plan to publish the revised Homelessness Code of Guidance in the autumn.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent representations his Department has received from (a) landlord and (b) tenants' organisations on houses in multiple occupation licensing fees; and what response his Department has made. [4872]


 
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Yvette Cooper: Representations have been received from a number of landlord and managing agent bodies following Ministers' decision not to use the powers in the Housing Act 2004 to cap fees charged for licensing. Discussions have already been held with these and other bodies to explain the background to this decision and to explore the extent to which it might be possible to fast track applications from landlords or agents who are members of local accreditation schemes or who might otherwise demonstrate their capacity to manage properties efficiently and effectively.

In addition, there will be transitional arrangements that will allow landlords of properties registered under the Housing Act 1985 to be passported into licensing without charge for a period not exceeding the unexpired portion of their current registration. We expect these arrangements to lead to more constructive relations between landlords and local authorities as well as ensuring that fees are kept to an acceptable level.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate his Department made for regulatory impact assessment purposes of the amount which would be raised by houses in multiple occupation licensing fees; what his Department's latest estimate is of that figure; and how each figure was calculated. [4873]

Yvette Cooper: The Regulatory Impact Assessment indicated that around 540,000 units would be licensable under mandatory houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing and the consultation paper Licensing in the Private Rented Sector: Consultation on the Implementation of HMO Licensing" had suggested that fee levels might be between £110 and £180 per unit but that the issue was still under consideration.

These estimates were compiled following consultation with local government, taking into account a range of factors including experience in registering HMO's under the Housing Act 1985, as amended by the Housing Act 1996.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what arrangements his Department has planned for ensuring houses in multiple occupation licence fees set by local authorities only recover costs; and when such arrangements will be in place. [4874]

Yvette Cooper: Section 63(7) of the Housing Act 2004 enables local housing authorities to have regard to the costs in carrying out the administration of the licensing scheme when fixing fees.

We expect local authorities to establish a coherent and transparent fee structure that is set up in time for the commencement of the licensing provisions, intended for October 2005, which must operate within and in accordance with the CIPFA accountancy framework.

Housing

Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 27 June 2005, Official Report, columns 1306–07W, on housing, what the process will be for the Examination in Public of the East of England Regional Spatial Strategy; in which areas it will operate; and how the process will be publicised. [8899]


 
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Yvette Cooper: The Examination in Public (EiP) provides an opportunity for discussion and testing of matters selected by the EiP panel in order to test the soundness of the Regional Spatial Strategy. The panel conducting the EiP has identified those matters which it considers need to be debated and those stakeholders that it intends to invite to take part in the debate. The list of matters and participants has been subject to public consultation and the panel are currently considering the results of that consultation. The panel will publish a revised list of matters and participants on or before the 19 July.

The EiP will be held, in public, at The Maltings, Ely, Cambridgeshire. The process has been publicised in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Regional Planning) (England) Regulations 2004.

Future information regarding the EiP will be published on panel's web pages, which are being hosted on the Go-East website:

Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 27 June 2005, Official Report, columns 1306–07W, on housing, over what period the Examination in Public of the East of England Regional Spatial Strategy home building targets will take place; and when he expects the outcome of that examination to be published. [8900]


 
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Yvette Cooper: The Examination in Public (EiP) is currently scheduled to commence on 14 September and run until 16 December 2005. The East of England regional assembly has recently requested a deferral of the opening of the EiP until 1 November. The panel is expected to report to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, the First Secretary of State within three to four months, depending upon the complexity of the issues.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) permanent tenancy and (b) introductory tenancy homes have been allocated to new tenants by (i)Birmingham city council and (ii) registered social landlords in Birmingham; and how many were allocated to households accepted as homeless and in (A) priority need and (B) non-priority need in each of the last 10 years. [6105]

Yvette Cooper: Information on the number of lettings to new tenants made by Birmingham city council on a (a) secure (permanent) and (b) introductory basis and the number of these lettings made to homeless households in priority need are given in table 1. Although local authorities have a discretionary housing duty to homeless households not in priority need information on these lettings is not held centrally.

Information on the number of lettings to new tenants made by registered social landlords (RSLs) in the Birmingham city council area; on a (a) secure (permanent) and (b) introductory basis and the number of these lettings made to homeless households both in priority need and not in priority need are given in table 2.
Table 1: Lettings made by Birmingham city council to new tenants

Of which:
Total
To homeless households in priority need
SecureIntroductorySecureIntroductory
1995–969,2513,553
1996–979,36103,2580
1997–989,32904,4500
1998–998,73703,2940
1999–20002,4265,4561,2521,842
2000–0107,72903,297
2001–0205,56703,329
2002–0305,38303,702
2003–0404,65203,385
2004–05(17)(17)(17)(17)


(17)Data not yet available
Note:
Introductory tenancies were established in late 1996–97, and usually lead to a secure tenancy after a trial period.
Source:
ODPM's Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns





Table 2: Lettings to new tenants made by registered social landlords in the Birmingham city council area

Of which:
To homeless households
Total
In priority need
Not in priority need
PermanentStarterPermanentStarterPermanentStarter
1995–96n/an/an/an/an/an/a
1996–973,725050801590
1997–984,133029102200
1998–994,148034001220
1999–20004,03202500810
2000–013,844331832900
2001–023,81842284l731
2002–033,65612227512986
2003–042,999240251111175
2004–05(18)(18)(18)(18)(18)(18)


(18)Data not yet available
Notes:
1.Permanent tenancies have been defined as Fair rent or secure", Assured" and Assured shorthold"
2.In priority need are those homeless households owed a main duty and nominated by a local authority
3.Not in priority need are those homeless households not owed a main duty but nominated by a local authority
Source:
Housing Corporation's CORE returns





 
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Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of councils that have completed their stock options appraisal have decided in favour of council retention of homes. [6421]

Yvette Cooper: Of the 84 local authorities that have had their stock options appraisal signed off by the relevant Government Office, 27—or 32 per cent.—have opted to retain ownership and direct management of all or some of their homes.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which councils have not yet submitted a stock options appraisal; and whether he expects that all councils will meet the July deadline. [6422]

Yvette Cooper: A list of local authorities that have yet to have a stock options appraisal signed off by the relevant Government Office has been placed in the Libraries of the House. Four authorities have indicated to us that they will not meet the deadline of the end of July.


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