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Concerns raised over changes to private rented sector in Rugby

July 24, 2018 8:10 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Rugby sign (lighter)Rugby Liberal Democrat Councillors have raised concerns about the lack of activity from the Conservative administration who run Rugby Borough Council about efforts to introduce a Private Renters Charter and engaging with landlords about significant changes to legislation affecting Houses in Multiple Occupation.

From 1 October 2018 any landlord who lets a property to five or more people - from two or more separate households - must be licensed by their local housing authority. The new rules will also come into force setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs to prevent overcrowding. Landlords will also be required to adhere to Council refuse schemes, to reduce problems with rubbish.

Guidance from the Government on the HMO changes was issued to local authorities on 20 June 2018 which says it is important that local authorities make landlords fully aware of the requirements. Furthermore, the Government expect local authorities to carry out active promotion of the extended mandatory licensing regime.

Liberal Democrat Councillors raised their concerns when the introduction of a new Environmental Health Officer to enforce the rules and the issue of the HMO changes were discussed and voted on at Full Council on Thursday 19 July 2018.

Councillor Tim Douglas also submitted a written question asking for an update on the progress being made to introduce a Private Renters Charter following the introduction of the Borough Council's Housing Strategy for 2018-2020 in February.

The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Homes responded by saying the piece of work is being led by the Regulatory Services Manager, in Environmental Services. The likely date for completion is August 2018.

Commenting, Councillor Tim Douglas (Paddox Ward), said:

"There was a lack of information from the Cabinet Report on the HMO changes and when pressed at Full Council the Portfolio Holder had no details on how and when the Council would be engaging with landlords and tenants. The proposals for a Private Renters Charter and the changes to the HMO legislation are significant and the Council need to get a grip on these matters immediately to help tenants and support landlords."