Housing Sub Committee Minutes

Date:
Tuesday 13 March 2012
Time:
2.00p.m.
Place:
Council Offices, English Street, Dumfries

Attendance Details

Members:
Ian I Carruthers (Chairman)-Annandale South
Brian B Collins-Castle Douglas and Glenkens
James H Dempster-Mid and Upper Nithsdale
Michael M Dickie-Annandale North
Alistair A Geddes-Mid Galloway
Roger R Grant-Annandale North
Ivor A Hyslop-Lochar
Jeff J Leaver-Lochar
George N Prentice-Castle Douglas and Glenkens
Officials:
Carol Henshall - Service Manager, Committee and Member Services
John Lynch - Head of Strategic Housing, Commissioning and Environmental Standards
Jim O'Neill - Strategy and Development Manager
Apologies:
Grahame G Forster - Wigtown West
Denis R Male - Annandale East and Eskdale
Item Number Item/Description
PUBLIC
1 SEDERUNT AND APOLOGIES

9 Members Present, 2 Apologies

2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

James H Dempster and Roger B Grant declared an interest in Item 7 by virtue of the fact that they were Landlords and having taken advice had determined that there was no requirement for them to leave the meeting for consideration of this item.

3 MINUTE OF MEETING OF 17 JANUARY 2012

Decision

 

APPROVED subject to the amendment to item 4 to add "Troqueer Children's home and Dormont"

 

PROCEDURE - the Chairman intimated that with agreement of Members, he intended to deal with the 'Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 - Review of the Scheme of Assistance' report next.

4 HOUSING (SCOTLAND) ACT 2006 - REVIEW OF THE SCHEME OF ASSISTANCE - REPORT BY DIRECTOR PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT SERVICES

Decision

 

4.1   NOTED the outcomes of the review of the Scheme of Assistance;

 

AGREED

 

4.2   the amended additional criteria for assistance with properties that are empty and below tolerable standard APPRECIATING that any such Exemption Cases would be submitted to the Housing Sub Committee for a decision as follows:

 

  • Leave an untilised resource in our communities that can often have the negative impacts
  • Undermine wider regeneration activity
  • Provide a focus for anti social behaviour
  • Reduce the effective housing stock in an area;

4.3   the budget allocations to support the continued implementation of the Scheme of Assistance:

 

Strategic Priority                                                      Proposed Budget

 

DGHP's Factoring Services                                   £48k

Below Tolerable Standard                                     £250k

Care and Repair (including adaptions

for people with disabilities)                                   £1.5m

Handy-Van                                                                £110k

Information and Advice                                          £10k

Landlord Accreditation Scotland                          £2k

Empty Homes Offices                                            £16k

Total PSHG budget Provision

(excluding staff revenue costs)                           £1,861k

Total proposed budget allocations                    £1, 936k

Shortfall to be met from Council Tax

on second homes                                                £75k

 

4.4   to fund £75k of the Below Tolerable Standard budget from Council Tax on second homes to enable assistance to be offered to applicants whose properties met the wider definition of Below Tolerable Standard;

 

4.5   to remit to officers to seek clarification on the options for Council's role as a possible lender of last resort and update members;

 

4.6   to receive a report on the Handy Man/ Handy Van service on its marketing and geographical uptake;

 

NOTED

 

4.7   that the Economic Development Service were the lead on the derelict property policy development and that a progress update would be provided to all Members;

 

4.8  that Economic Services are the lead service for progressing the Whitesands Master plan (agreed at PHES in Dec 2011) and noted the advice from officers of the need for improved coherence in its development relating to flood risk, mitigation and use of properties;

 

4.9   the clarification provided on SEPA position on flood risk in urban areas that they advise on risk and how to mitigate the identified risks FURTHER NOTED that at no point had SEPA maintained a position that part of Dumfries could not be made suitable for housing; and

 

4.10  the position on the empty homes officer appointment                           

5 PRESENTATION - OPERATION OF UHIS 2 BY ENERGY AGENCY

Decision

 

THANKED Michael Carr for his presentation on an Area Based Approach to creating warmer, more fuel affordable and sustainable communities

6 UNIVERSAL HOME INSULATION SCHEME BID 2012/13 - REPORT BY DIRECTOR PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT SERVICES

Decision

 

6.1   AGREED that the UHIS Bid to the Scottish Government for 2012/13 cover the whole of Dumfries and Galloway; and

 

6.2   NOTED that a monitoring and evaluation report would be presented to this Sub Committee at the end of the UHIS 3 project.

7 STRATEGIC HOUSING INVESTMENT PLAN (SHIP) 2012/13 - 2014/15 - REPORT BY DIRECTOR PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT SERVICES

PROCEDURE - John Lynch advised that Table 1 from Appendix 1 had been omitted from the papers and had been issued under seperate cover on 8 March 2012

 

Decision

 

AGREED

 

7.1    the Strategic Housing Investment Plan 2012/13 - 2014/15; and

 

7.2   to receive a future report that would review the Strategic Housing Investment Plan after the Resource Planning Assumption for Dumfries and Galloway for 2012/13 - 2014/15 had been announced by the Scottish Government, NOTING that this would allow for a more detailed submission that would identify priorities and funding support for projects scheduled for 2013/14 and 2014/15

 

MEMBER - George N Prentice left the meeting - 8 Members present

8 LANDLORD REGISTRATION AND HMO LICENSING - REPORT BY DIRECTOR PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED

 

8.1   the improvements in performance in relation to the administration, inspection and enforcement of Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Landlord Registration being:

 

8.1.1   At the time of the Shelter study of 2009 there were 3128 landlords registered in Dumfries and Galloway. By 31 January 2012 there were 4922 registrations. This represented an increase of 57%. The amount of fee income generated by these activities has correspondingly increased beyond 2011/12 budget projections. This was primarily attributable to the creation of the new team and an increase in pro active investigation and enforcement work being carried out. Key Performance Indicators for this service would be developed for input into Covalent as part of the Planning and Environment Services Business Planning process.

 

8.1.2  Increased income from fees generated by Landlord Registration and the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation had been agreed as a savings target at the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council on 18 December 2010. The targets set are shown below:

 

  • 2011/12 - £15k
  • 2012/13 - £31k
  • 2013/14 - £46k

8.1.3   The target set for 2011 - 2012 had already been surpassed with £91,090 achieved to date against a budget figure of £79,360

 

8.1.4   New and effective relationships had also been established with officers from our Council's Housing Benefit, Council Tax and Homlessness Services. Establishing officer groups had allowed the sharing of good practice as well as the development of a consistent approach towards engagement with private landlords across services. It was important that our Council continues to develop a positive relationship with the private rented sector as well as robustly dealing with enforcement issues;

 

8.2  the implementation of the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Act 2011 and Part 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006; and

 

8.3  AGREED to recommend to the Full Council that decisions regarding House in Multiple Occupation licence applications, including consideration of the enhanced fit and proper person test previously agreed by this Sub Committee, be delegated to our Council's Licensing Panel.

9 ANY OTHER BUSINESS DEEMED URGENT BY THE CHAIRMAN DUE TO THE NEED FOR A DECISION

PROCEDURE - The Chairman advised that he had had agreed to accept an exempt item of urgent business which required a decision at this meeting to address the needs of a disabled applicant and would allow for a short recess to enable Members to read the tabled report.

 

9A. LOCAL GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1973

Consider adoption of resolution to exclude the public from the meeting in terms of Section 50A (4) and paragraph 3 of part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1979

 

ADJOURNMENT OF MEETING - The meeting was adjourned at 15.45pm to allow Members to read the tabled report and reconvened at 15.50pm with 8 Members present being:

 

Ian B Carruthers, Brian Collins, James H Dempster, Michael Dickie, Alistair Geddes, Roger B Grant, Ivor A Hyslop and Jeff Leaver.

 

9B SCHEME OF ASSISTANCE: WORK TO MEET THE NEEDS OF DISABLED PEOPLE: CASE REFERENCE 11

 

Decision

 

9.1   AGREED having considered the merits of the applications for financial assistance to meet the needs of the application to support the costs of up to £53,700 of a ground floor rear bedroon and bathroom with wet floor shower area and ramp; and

 

9.2   NOTED that the costs for discretionary work to met the needs of the disabled person would be met from the scheme of assistance budget and could be met from available funding.