Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Inquiry Panel - How do we get a better deal for private sector renters in Southampton? - Thursday, 21st December, 2023 5.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 3 - Civic Centre. View directions

Link: Link to Meeting

No. Item


Apologies and Changes in Membership (if any)

To note any changes in membership of the Panel made in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4.3.



Apologies were received from Councillor Powell-Vaughan.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting (including matters arising) pdf icon PDF 334 KB

To approve and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 16 November 2023 and to deal with any matters arising, attached.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 16 November 2023 be approved and signed as a correct record.


The affordability of private rented housing pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Report of the Scrutiny Manager recommending that the Panel consider the comments made by the invited guests and use the information provided as evidence in the review.

Additional documents:


The Panel considered the report of the Scrutiny Manager concerning the affordability of private sector rented housing in Southampton.


The Panel received the following representations:


Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homelessness, Bristol City Council and Alfie Thomas, Policy, Strategy and Public Affairs Officer, Bristol City Council summarised the findings from Bristol City Council’s Living Rent Commission. Key points raised in the presentation included the following:


·  In Bristol between 2011-2021 the cost of renting privately grew by 52% while wages grew by 24%.

·  Median advertised rent increased by 25% from 2018 to 2020. When a property was re-listed in Bristol its rent increased by roughly 6%. Even after adjusting for flat size, rents for cheaper properties in 2018 grew between two and four times as fast as rents for more expensive properties.

·  The average house price in Bristol was almost ten times local average earnings. House prices forced people to stay in an already cramped private rented market for longer.

·  The supply of properties listed to rent declined by nearly two thirds from 2018 to 2020.

·  The Council’s Corporate Strategy set out the aim of pursuing a “living rent” in Bristol and committed to ensuring fair access to a decent home.

·  The Council was committed to increasing housing supply which was one of the major challenges and 2,563 new homes were built in 2021/2022. Project1000 focused on building affordable homes and aimed to deliver 1000 affordable homes a year by 2024.

·  The Bristol Living Rent Commission concluded that private renting in Bristol faced a serious crisis of access, affordability and security of tenure, which impacted the wellbeing and quality of life for people in Bristol and played a major role in creating homelessness.

·  The final report outlined twenty-nine recommendations of which twenty three were for Bristol City Council.

·  The Living Rent Commission concluded that it could be possible to develop a rent control system that had a broad base of support if power was devolved to pursue further research into a workable method.

·  Considering the rent control policies outlined in the rent control survey, capping the absolute levels of rent, or capping the rate of increase, were both policies that were endorsed by a proportion of respondents and could be considered by Bristol City Council following a redistribution of power to local authorities.

·  In response to these recommendations Bristol City Council had started writing a Private Rented Sector Strategy for Bristol which would articulate its strategic vision, standards and approach to intervening in the Bristol private rented sector.

·  Bristol City Council had also consulted on proposals to introduce new property licensing schemes, and this would be going to its Cabinet in February 2024. The first of the two schemes for privately rented housing were for a citywide additional licensing scheme where most Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) not already subject to mandatory licensing would need a licence. The second scheme was a selective licensing scheme in four wards where most other types of private rented accommodation in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.