Agenda item

Proposal to Designate Additional HMO Licensing Scheme


The report presented outlined the need for the renewal of the Additional Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing scheme in Thurrock. The scheme, initiated in June 2019, had played a crucial role in improving housing conditions and management standards in smaller HMOs that fell outside the scope of Mandatory Licensing. The renewal proposal was based on comprehensive data and analysis, demonstrating the positive impact of the scheme on housing conditions, tenant safety, and community well-being.


The following points were raised:


·       Member raised her concern on the increase in the number of HMOs and questioned whether there was a means, through the Planning Committee, of giving members advanced notice of any new HMOs.

·       Members raised their concern on enforcement of non-licensing properties.

·       Member referred to the scheme generating £432,912 and questioned whether this was net of all costs or income to which he was informed this was income. Member further asked the cost of running the scheme per year to which the officer agreed to provide. Action 17

·       Member questioned where the monies would be allocated from the additional licensing that would be intended to cover smaller HMOs.

·       Member referred to the charges to be implemented and whether this was a significant rise year on year and questioned the comparison figures from last year. Action 18

·       Member stated it appeared to be unfair to be charging HMOs in only certain parts of the borough and questioned why.

·       Member stated the process was complex and saw potential to generate further revenue and suggested there needed to a financial plan on how the council was dealing with HMOs that could concentrate on staffing and fairness.

·       Member stated his support as the benefits would be to protect residents and improve the service being offered by the council.

·       The Chair noted the housing team had done a terrific job in generating significant revenue.

·       The Chair noted that revenue coming into the housing team did not meet his typical complaints received from his constituents and questioned what work was being undertaken with other departments to ensure an increase rating in enforcement.

·       The Chair commented that other departments within the council did not see any of the proceeds of HMOs and questioned why when some of the HMO complaints were linked to other departments.

·       The Chair also questioned how the growth of complaints were being tracked for the unlicensed schemes.

·       Member asked whether Housing Officers were reporting potential new HMOs back to the team.

·       Member stated there needed to be a restriction on the number of HMOs in the borough and had concerns this was being encouraged as a money stream.

·       Member stated he was in favour of single HMOs as there was a particular demand in his ward.

·       The Chair summed up by stating the committee were in favour of the recommendations but had concerns on what enforcement would look like across the unlicensed properties and across different departments of the council.




Action 17 - Member further asked the cost of running the scheme per year to which officer agreed to provide.

Action 18 - Officers to provide charge comparison figures.




The Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee


1.       Commented on the council’s evidence to renew Additional Licensing covering the whole borough for five years.


2.       Commented on the other options available to the council to improve housing conditions and management standards in all HMOs.


3.       Commented on the public consultation with stakeholders likely to be affected by this decision to extend Additional Licensing and present those findings to Cabinet for a decision on renewing Additional Licensing.


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