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HMO Licensing Update - 48 Licences Revoked / Student Rubbish Proposal

HMO Licensing Update - 48 Licences Revoked / Student Rubbish Proposal

This months governance team meeting was cancelled but we did learn some interesting facts about the progress of HMO licensing in Southsea (PO1, PO4 & PO5) and also received a plea about student rubbish when they move out in the summer.

There are now 3,021 identified HMO's of which 2,959 have applied for licenses and so far, 2,695 have been granted. In addition there are 154 section 257 properties of which 152 have applied for licenses and 103 have so far been approved.

The more interesting statistics are that 26 Interim Management Orders are in place - this is where the Council takes on management of the HMO, collects rent, etc and charges the landlord the cost of doing this until such time as the landlord can prove that he either has the skills to take on the role himself or has recruited someone else who can, two large portfolio landlords have been warned for not having a licence and 48 licenses have been revoked.

This latter statistic is an unfortunate reflection on the tardiness of many landlords and agents. Having been through the process of getting a licence, the landlord/agent will receive a reminder from the council each year asking for updated gas safety certificates and the like. After the 3rd letter is sent, if the council receives no adequate response, then the license is revoked and the licensee can no longer operate that particular property as an HMO. To hear that this has happened 48 times is worrying - it is one of those occasions when we hope the council have made a big mistake and sent letters to the wrong addresses as otherwise, there are potentially around 200 people who face possible eviction through no fault of their own.  (Though one hopes the licensees concerned will hand management to someone who can handle basic paperwork rather than have their tenants face this outcome).

There are now  quite a few council organised community liasion groups in place and the number 1 issue continues to be student rubbish, especially at the end of the student year when huge piles of black bin bags can be on the pavement for up to a week before collection. A number of proposals are under consideration, all of which have merit.

One issue appears to be the reluctance of landlords to put the rubbish out on the appropriate day for their ex-tenants and the fact that landlords threaten significant 'waste clearance' charges if any rubbish is left in the property. The council proposal is that if students leave it correctly bagged and in the appropriate place (bins in the garden), then the tenants should not be charged and the landlord or their agent should put the bags out on the appropriate day for collection.

A parallel proposal would involve the placement of commercial flip top waste bins in the worst affected streets during May and JUne so that the bags could be carried straight to the bin and would not need to be on the street. Obviously this latter proposal is supported by the PDPLA but even if it is iimplemented, there will be many more streets where the provision of bins is not justified and in those cases, we are asked and support the view that agents and landlords need to be more supportive of tenants and their neighbours as proposed by the council.

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