Meeting called by Hull City Council to introduce the following changes to their enforcement policy:
- Remove the formal stage of Notice
- Introduce civil penalty and rent repayment orders
- Increase the number of properties requiring a license by including two storey property with 5 person sharing
- Introduce the charging for plans and other documentation
- Discontinue the self regulation accreditation and introduce a chargeable accreditation scheme run by HCC
Effect of changes on Ultra Lets clients
From what we understand so far:
- The main effect will be the removal of informal notice, as HCC are proposing to charge for the notice without giving chance for the landlord to correct
- The other major impact, which will affect a lot of student landlords, is the introduction of licensing for two storey properties. This does not affect many of Ultralets managed properties.
Questions (and answers) asked by Ultra Lets
We managed to get a one-on-one meeting with Sue Roberts who is second in command in the Housing Department:
Q1. When a formal notices is sent out will both category 1 and category 2 hazards attract a charge
Q2. Will the changes affect both owner-occupiers in the same way as it affects landlords?
A2. No, some discretion will be given to owner-occupiers
Q3. Will the charges for notices include the inspections?
A3. We think so but this is not confirmed
Q4. Are we able to appeal against both the Notice’s validity and separately against the associated charges?
A4. Yes there will be two separate appeal procedures available
We expressed our concerns on the following three points
- They will not be able to treat owner-occupiers differently to Landlords, as this will not honor the tender neutral policy
- Making a charge for the discretionary category 2 repairs, and most of category 1 repairs will not give Landlords the opportunity to make good his property as these will not be deemed to be “reasonably foreseeable” as directed in the Duty of Care Act.
- Making any charge for inspections is not allowable under the Housing Act 2004 S.49 (2)(a)
Sue Roberts was very attentive and promised to pass all our concerns on to Dave Richmond who is the head of Housing.
Dave Richmond will be presenting these changes to the Humber Landlords Association on Thursday March 1, where we shall attend.
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