- Draft Health and Care Professions (Public Health Specialists); Draft Selective Licensing of Houses (Additional Conditions); Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England); Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) - Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee Contents


Additional information from the Department for Communities and Local Government

Q1: The Explanatory Memorandum does little to explain why the Department has decided to lay this Order now, and with the effects that it embodies. The EM says that the Government are "keen to ensure that local authorities have the right tools to help improve areas with relatively large numbers of privately rented properties and which are characterised by poor property conditions, or which have current or recent experience of large amounts of inward migration, or which have a high level of deprivation, or high levels of crime." What concrete evidence is available to the Department to show that local authorities need additional "tools" to deal with the specific problems mentioned in the EM?

A1: Our evidence is based on discussions we have had over a considerable period of time with local authorities, landlord organisations and others in the sector, e.g. housing charities. A clear and consistent message that we have received across the board is that the current criteria for selective licensing (low housing demand or anti-social behaviour) are not sufficient and do not enable local authorities to introduce licensing in areas where it is most needed and where they can target enforcement action.

Q2: Is the Department aware that any local authorities plan specific action to make use of the powers that would be given by the Order?

A2: No.

Q3: The EM says: "A discussion paper 'Review of Property Conditions in the Private Rented Sector' was published in February 2014…Amongst other things, it invited views on how to make licensing more effective while helping to ensure that good landlords were not adversely affected. It was clear from many of the responses that there was a need to extend the grounds on which a selective licensing scheme could be made and thereby help ensure that schemes are targeted more closely at areas with particularly complex problems." What responses were received to the discussion paper, and from whom? Has the Department published an analysis of those responses? If so, what is the web-reference? If not, why not?

A3: We received 299 substantive responses to the discussion paper. A breakdown is as follows:

161 local authorities;

37 landlords, letting agents and representative bodies

7 MPs

10 charities

48 pressure groups

36 individuals

The Government response to the discussion paper will be published on 13 March.

Q4: Has the Department formally consulted on the proposals in the Order? If not, why not?

A4: We have not held a formal consultation. As noted above, there has been extensive informal consultation. Formal consultation is not a requirement and we are confident on the basis of our discussions with the sector that extending the criteria in this way will be welcomed as a positive step forward.

Q5: The EM says: "An Impact Assessment has been prepared and will be submitted to the Regulatory Policy Committee shortly." Why was the impact assessment not laid before Parliament with the Order?

A5: A Regulatory Triage Assessment has been sent to the Regulatory Policy Committee. These documents are fast track Impact Assessments and are used when the cost to business is expected to be less than £1 million. A copy is attached but please note that it has yet to be validated by the RPC. The Assessment was not laid before Parliament with the Order because it was only recently decided to extend the criteria and it takes a certain amount of time to prepare an Assessment.

11 March 2015

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