Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Inquiry Panel - How do we get a better deal for private sector renters in Southampton? - Thursday, 18th January, 2024 5.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 3 and 4 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Melanie Morley Democratic Services Officer 02380 832198 

Link: Link to Meeting

No. Item


Minutes of the Previous Meeting (including matters arising) pdf icon PDF 413 KB

To approve and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 21 December 2023 and to deal with any matters arising, attached.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 21 December 2023 be approved and signed as a correct record.


The condition of private rented housing pdf icon PDF 813 KB

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 condition of private sector rented housing in Southampton.


The Panel received the following representations:


Councillor Shaban Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Modernisation; Housing Needs, Homelessness and the Private Rented Sector, and Helen Masterson, Head of Private Sector Housing Standards, London Borough of Newham, outlined Newham’s selective licensing scheme. Key points raised in the presentation included the following:


·  38.5% of households in Newham were in the Private Rented Sector. Research indicated that 52-54% of Newham’s residents were renting privately.

·  Property Licensing Schemes in Newham started in 2013. It was the first large-scale property licensing scheme in England.

·  In 2018 a second scheme was introduced, providing selective and additional licensing for 19 out of 20 wards and 42,000 licenses.

·  An unprecedented third Licensing Scheme was confirmed by the Secretary of State, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in December 2022.

·  Objectives included improvements to the quality, safety and choice of residents across Newham and to raise the housing standards across Newham by penalising landlords who failed to provide homes of suitable quality and requiring remedial action where necessary.

·  Financial incentives were offered to accredited landlords and those with properties that had an energy efficiency rating of A to C.

·  There were a total of 66 officers in Newham’s Private Sector Housing Standards Team, funded from license fees.

·  Newham’s PSH Compliance Team undertake 800 inspections per month and refer about 100 per month to the enforcement referrals process.

·  In the period 2018-2022 Newham banned 84 landlords from running licensed properties, launched almost 2,000 ‘breach of licence’ investigations, issued 342 financial penalty final notices, issued 6,447 enforcement letters to landlords, had 26,000 licence holders and had 93 evictions avoided through Tenancy Liaison.

·  The Letting Agents Project ensured compliance with consumer protection law and 79 Letting Agents were served with final Fixed Penalty Notices in the period 2022-2023.

·  To improve information, advice and guidance, Newham had produced a landlords pack, a tenants pack, ran landlord forums in conjunction with NRLA twice a year, had an e-bulletin for landlords which 18,000 out of 26,000 landlords signed up to, and had relevant information on its website.

·  The property licensing schemes enabled proactive inspections and had improved housing conditions and ensured healthy housing for occupants by driving up standards and stamping out poor and illegal practices for the benefit of tenants and responsible landlords.

·  The scheme collected and collated data which informed how resources are used to target enforcement action and supported applications for future licensing designations.

·  The scheme helped Newham to prepare for compliance with new duties under the Renters (Reform) Bill and demonstrated the local housing authority’s ability to keep housing conditions in the area under review (Housing Act 2004).


Adam Goulden, Chief Executive, the Environment Centre (tEC), summarised the initiatives delivered by tEC in Southampton to improve the energy efficiency of properties in the private rented sector. Key points raised in the presentation included the following:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.