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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Room B12, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

46.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

The Chairman also welcomed Councillor Jarnell and invited him to come forward and join the meeting.

47.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests.

48.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 July 2018 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 26 July 2018 be confirmed as an accurate record.

49.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

50.

To receive the minutes of the Cabinet Advisory Panel held on 3 September 2018

To follow

Minutes:

The Cabinet received the minutes of the Cabinet Advisory Panel held on Monday 3 September 2018 and had regard to the Panel’s views throughout the meeting.

51.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

52.

Review of the Housing Allocations' Policy pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Summary:

 

1.    The Housing Allocations’ Policy was adopted by the General Assembly of the Council on 18 March 2013 as the Council’s framework for the allocation and management of future tenancies from 29 April 2013.  A subsequent review of the Policy was carried out and approved by Cabinet on 6 March 2014.

 

2.    In order to ensure a consistent approach, a further review of the Policy has been carried out and changes made, where appropriate, to reflect new legislation and operational methods.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet approve the revisions to the Housing Allocations’ Policy as described in this report.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a review of the Housing Allocations’ Policy which had been adopted by the General Assembly of the Council on 18 March 2013 as the Council’s framework for the allocation and management of future tenancies. The current policy had applied from 29 April 2013 and had subsequently been reviewed and approved by the Cabinet on 6 March 2014. In order to ensure a consistent approach a further review of the policy had been carried out and changes made, where appropriate, to reflect new legislation and in particular the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, and operational methods to ensure that it complied with important changes in legislation and that social housing was correctly and fairly allocated to those in priority need.  

 

The Cabinet noted the views expressed by the Cabinet Advisory Panel (CAP) which had sought, and received, reassurance about the provisions applying to moves from supported accommodation. The CAP had also discussed the transparency of the policy and in particular the possibility that applicants in Band D would have a long wait to receive an allocation.

 

The Cabinet noted that the revised policy extended the move-on provisions to those leaving all types of supported accommodation and would assist a greater number of people requiring housing. The Cabinet also felt that applicants were given clear information and advice about the criteria applied to determine priorities under the policy and that applicants in Band D understood their position within the allocations process. It was also noted that some people on the Register chose not to bid for properties and therefore had long wait times and that this skewed the data on average waiting times for allocations somewhat.  

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the revisions to the Housing Allocations’ Policy described in the report be approved.

 

 

 

53.

Draft Private Sector Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy 2018 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Summary:

 

The Council’s current Enforcement Policy has been operational since June 2014.  Since then, operational and legislative changes have been introduced and as a consequence, the Policy has been revised and updated to reflect these changes; including extended powers in respect of the licencing of houses in multiple occupation and those contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016. This report sets out the major changes to the Policy and presents an updated version.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That Cabinet approve the draft Private Sector Housing Enforcement and Licencing Policy attached at Appendix A to the report; and

 

2.    That the Strategic Director (External Services) be given delegated authority to approve any minor revisions to the Policy as required.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet was advised that the Council’s current Private Sector Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy had been in operation since June 2014. Since that time operational and legislative changes had been introduced and as a consequence the policy required updating to reflect these changes, which included extended powers in respect of the licensing of houses in multiple occupation and changes arising from the Housing and Planning Act 2016. The report set out the major changes to the policy, including new civil penalty enforcement powers, the extension of Rent Repayment Orders to cover a much wider range of offences, and extension of licensing powers in relation to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) and new energy efficiency standards. The draft Private Sector Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy 2018 was presented for consideration by Members.

 

The Cabinet had regard to the views expressed by the Cabinet Advisory Panel which had sought clarification around the new licensing arrangements for HMO’s and the operation of the new civil enforcement powers and the resourcing to support these arrangements.

 

The Cabinet also heard from Councillor Jarnell who drew upon his professional experience in highlighting concerns that he had about the policy. He explained that the profile of tenants in HMO’s had changed significantly in recent years and now included a much wider range of people who were economically active and often included those drawn from the professions. He believed that the data upon which the policy was based was therefore likely to be out-of-date and understated. He believed that the number of HMO’s would rise significantly and also drew attention to the fact that many landlords now operated on a more commercial basis as lenders now required them to have robust business plans and to undertake stress testing of the financial viability of their proposals. He was also concerned about the additional pressures that a higher number of HMO’s and a higher number of residents in these properties, might place on the local infrastructure and services and felt that this was not recognised in the policy.

 

The Cabinet recognised that the management of HMO’s was becoming more commercial and professional in approach and that private rental was a growing form of tenure. It was therefore important to ensure that there were robust arrangements in place to ensure that tenants were provided with suitable and safe living conditions and that landlords behaved responsibly. The proposed revised policy sought to do this and the new civil penalties and licensing requirements were powerful tools in delivering these objectives and to ensure that rogue landlords were exposed and prevented from operating irresponsibly in future by refusing any new licensing applications. The Cabinet recognised that an increase in the number of residents in any road or area could ultimately have an impact on infrastructure and services but these were matters for periodic assessment at appropriate times and for the application of other policies to address but that this would be responsive and led by demand.

 

Councillor Jarnell also asked whether there was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

Draft Local Lettings Plan for Coleridge Road New Build Development pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Summary:

 

 

 

This report seeks approval for a local lettings plan to be implemented for the Council’s new build housing  development at Coleridge Road, Temple Hill.

 

Recommendation:

 

 

 

That the draft Local Lettings Plan attached at Appendix A to the report be approved.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which set out a draft local lettings plan to be implemented for the Council’s new build housing development at Coleridge Road, Temple Hill which was due for completion in April 2019 and would provide 51 new homes for rent by local people. Local lettings plans were designed to ensure that the Council’s core objectives in terms of sustainable development and the minimisation of anti-social behaviour on estates were met as well as ensure a fair allocations process, target household compositions, who will receive priority and additional tenancy conditions. The draft local lettings plan was largely modelled on the local lettings plan for the Council’s first new build development at Hill View and any further lettings plans for future Council developments would be based on the core principles contained in the proposed draft plan.

 

The Cabinet had regard to the views of the Cabinet Advisory Panel and noted the concerns raised that anyone who had recently fallen into rent arrears because of their move onto Universal Credit, but who had otherwise had a clear rent account for a reasonable period of time, should not be precluded from applying for one of the properties. The Cabinet shared this view but felt that there was sufficient flexibility in the criteria to ensure that this happened. However it believed that it was important that applicants should generally have a good rental payment history and this was usually associated with having a clear rent account. The Cabinet confirmed that concerns that a two tier allocations system had been created was simply not the case and the lettings policy already in place at Hill View, on which the current lettings policy was based, was operating very effectively.

 

The Chairman also advised Members that a bench and plaque would also be installed at the Coleridge development in recognition of the contribution to local housing made by the late Councillor John Muckle.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the draft Local Lettings Plan for the Coleridge Road New Build Development attached at Appendix A to the report be approved.

 

55.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman - Annual Review Letter 2018 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Summary:

 

To receive and note the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2018.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2018 attached at Appendix A to the report, and the corresponding data tables for the Council at Appendices B and C to the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet received the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter for 2018, noted the low number of complaints made about Council services and that none of these had been upheld by the Ombudsman during the period covered.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review Letter 2018 attached at Appendix A to the report and the corresponding data table at Appendices B and C be noted.

56.

Street Naming and Numbering - Northfleet West Sub-station (Ebbsfleet Green) Phase 3 pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Summary:

 

To approve the names for six new roads on Phase 3 of the Northfleet West Sub-station development.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the six new road names for Phase 3 of the Northfleet West Sub-station development be approved as Adamson, Conybeare, Emmeline, Garland, Millicent and Roberts.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which sought approval for the names of six new roads on Phase 3 of the Northfleet West Sub-station (Ebbsfleet Green) which were linked to the Suffrage Movement and the centenary of Votes for Women.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the six new road names for Phase 3 of the Northfleet West Sub Station development be approved as Adamson, Conybeare, Emmeline, Garland, Millicent and Roberts.

57.

Corporate Plan - Performance Indicators pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Summary:

 

This report provides the progress with the latest set of Corporate Plan key actions and performance indicators for quarter 1 of 2018/19.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Members note the contents of the key action and performance indicator monitoring reports attached at Appendices A and B to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which provided details of the latest set of Corporate Plan key actions and performance indicators for the first quarter of 2018/19.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the key action and performance indicator monitoring reports for quarter 1 of 2018/19 attached at Appendices A and B to the report be noted.

 

58.

Policy Overview Committee minutes - 12 June 2018 pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Summary:

 

To present to Cabinet the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 12 June 2018.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 12 June 2018 be noted.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 12 June 2018 be noted.