PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSING ENFORCEMENT POLICY

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					      PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSING ENFORCEMENT POLICY

1.0   INTRODUCTION

      Fife Council is committed to the principles of good enforcement. The
      Council signed up to the Enforcement Concordat in November 1998
      and the Enforcement Policy reflects the principles of good
      enforcement.

1.1   The approach in Fife is developed on behalf of the Fife Housing
      Partnership the aim being to support Housing Improvement through the
      Local Housing Strategy.

1.2   The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 sets out to create a cultural change
      in attitudes to the Private Sector Housing conditions by removing, in
      general terms, financial incentives and replacing this with a mixture of
      encouragement and assistance backed up by enforcement where
      necessary.

1.3   This policy directs that the enforcement of Housing Law in the Private
      Sector will be informed by the principles of proportionality in applying
      the law and securing compliance, consisting of approach, targeting of
      enforcement action and transparency about how this Authority
      operates.      It will also inform businesses, individuals and the
      community what they may expect when dealing with Fife Council.

1.4   Officers will carry out their duties in a fair, equitable and consistent
      manner.      Arrangements will be in place to promote consistency,
      including effective arrangements for liaison with other Authorities,
      Enforcement Bodies and Partners.

1.5   Fife Council recognises and affirms the importance of achieving and
      maintaining consistency in its approach to making all decisions which
      concern enforcement action. To achieve and maintain objectivity and
      consistency it is important that the Guidance, both statutory and
      advisory, in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 is always considered and
      followed where appropriate.

1.6   Fife Council will ensure that Enforcement decisions are always
      consistent, balanced and fair. However, the court will determine the
      final interpretation of the laws as stated in Statute, should there be any
      dispute with Fife Council’s interpretation.

1.7   All authorised officers will abide by the Policy when making
      enforcement decisions.          Any deviation from the Policy will be
      exceptional, capable of justification and be fully considered by the
      Private Sector Operational Group before the decision is taken unless to
      delay the decision may result in significant risk to the Health and Safety
      of an individual or the public.
2.0   ENFORCEMENT

2.1   Fife Council adopts a graduated approach to Enforcement using
      persuasion and encouragement in giving advice, education, practical
      assistance, etc to secure compliance. Where appropriate advice is
      confirmed in writing and a clear distinction is made between statutory
      requirements and recommendations.

2.2   In deciding whether or not to take any form of formal action,
      consultation will take place with the Private Sector Operational Group.
      Further advice will also be obtained as appropriate from other Local
      Authorities, Scottish Government and any other relevant organisation.

2.3   Compliance should normally be achieved through informal action,
      however where Formal action is considered, the enforcement decision
      process must be followed to ensure that all decisions are impartial,
      justified and procedurally correct.

2.4   There will be exceptions to the Informal action and these will be
      identified where possible, i.e. missing owners, dangerous or empty
      buildings.

2.5   Informal action to secure compliance with the legislation includes
      offering advice, education to raise awareness and practical assistance.

2.6   Where an Informal approach is used to secure compliance with Private
      Sector Housing legislation it is important that any written
      documentation issued:

            is sent out to the relevant person within ten working days

            contains all the information necessary for that person to
             understand what work is required and why it is necessary

            indicates the measures which will enable compliance with the
             statutory requirements

            clearly indicates any recommendations of safe working practice.

2.7   Before Formal action is taken officers will consult with the Private
      Sector Operational Group to discuss the circumstances of the case,
      unless immediate action is required.

2.8   Where immediate action is considered necessary an explanation of
      why such action is required will be given at the time and confirmed in
      writing within ten working days.

2.9   Fife Council believes in firm but fair enforcement of Private Sector
      Housing legislation. Enforcement action will be related to the priorities
      identified within the Local Housing Strategy.
         Sub Standard Housing       Houses below the Tolerable Standard (BTS)
                                     Houses in serious disrepair
                                     Houses in disrepair where they will
                                     deteriorate rapidly or damage other
                                     premises if nothing is done

         Housing Renewal Areas Covers sub standard housing and/or any
                                house adversely affecting the amenities of
                                the area

         Maintenance                Where owners have failed or are failing to
                                     maintain their house in good repair

         Private Landlords          Registration of landlords and licences of
                                     Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

         Buildings                  Dangerous or in serious disrepair

         Scottish Housing           This will, on occasion, include Private Sector
          Quality Standard           Housing
          (SHQS)



3.0       ENFORCEMENT ACTION WILL BE PROPORTIONAL, TARGETED
          AND CONSISTENT

3.1       Proportionality; enforcement action taken will be related to the
          requirements of the relevant housing legislation and the circumstances
          of the case when considering action. We will take particular care to
          work with owners to help them meet their obligations without
          unnecessary expense.

3.2       Targeting; Private Sector Housing will be targeted to ensure that the
          areas of need identified in the Local Housing Strategy will be
          prioritised.

3.3       Consistency; Fife Council will undertake Enforcement action, respond
          to enquiries/visits and give advice in a consistent manner. This will be,
          so far as is reasonably practical, consistent with other services,
          partners and the Scottish Government.


4.0       REVIEW

4.1       This Policy will be reviewed as part of the continuous improvement
          process. The inter service assessment should agree Performance
          Indicators as a basis of objective measurement of implementation and
          improvement.      Also, to be responsive to new legislation/guidance
          issued by the Scottish Government.
5.0   RESOURCES

5.1   This is a Partnership approach to Private Sector Housing and each
      Partner will have a responsibility for progressing different areas of the
      prioritised objectives. By pooling resources and information it is hoped
      this will maximise effectiveness in providing outcomes.


6.0   CONCLUSION

6.1   The Private Sector priorities will focus on the poorer quality Housing
      Stock in Fife. This Enforcement Policy needs to be flexible to ensure
      that there is a good balance between assistance and enforcement yet
      still ensuring that firm action is taken where appropriate. This Policy
      fits into Fife Council’s Big 8 Priorities, “Increasing access to Housing”
      by improving the quality of the Private Sector Housing Stock in Fife and
      in so doing, improving the well being and health within our
      communities.
                                                                 APPENDIX 1

              LEGISLATION                                        PURPOSE                                     SERVICE DELIVERY
                                                Private Water Supply Improvement Grant
                                                Wholesome water - power to close or restrict the
Water (Scotland) Act 1980                       use of water from a polluted source.
                                                                                                     Environmental Services
Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations   Application of enactments by order.                  (PWS Technical Officer)
2006                                            Classification of water supply types
P W S (Scotland) (Notices)Regulations 2006      Sampling & Analysis
P W S (Scotland) (Grants) Regulations 2006
                                                                                                     Environmental Services
                                                Common stair lighting issues
Civic Government Act 1982                       HMO Licensing – ensure that all houses operating
                                                                                                     (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)
Civic Government Act (Order) 2000               as Houses in multiple occupation are licensed and    Housing Services
                                                meet HMO Standards.                                  (Landlord Registration Team)
                                                HMO Enforcement
                                                                                                     Law & Admin
                                                Closing Order –To close sub-standard housing
                                                until upgraded.
Housing (Scotland) Act 1987                     Demolition Order-To demolish a single stand alone
                                                                                                     Environmental Services
                                                sub-standard house                                   (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)
                                                Charging orders to recover costs for work
                                                specified in 2006 Act
                                                Definition of Standard Amenities
                                                                                                     Environmental Services
                                                Statutory Nuisance / Abatement Notice
Environmental Protection Act 1990                                                                    (Public Protection Team)
                                                                                                     (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)

                                                Sec 28 - Defective Building Notice.
                                                Sec.29 & 30 - allows access to private property to
Building (Scotland) Act 2003                    determine state of repair and to serve Dangerous
                                                Building Notices.                                    Building Control
                                                Repair Notice – allows work to reduce or remove
                                                the danger. This may include demolition.
          LEGISLATION                                    PURPOSE                                    SERVICE DELIVERY
                                       Change title deeds
Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003   Variation and discharge of burdens
                                                                                            Law & Administration Service
                                       Power of majority to instruct common maintenance


                                       Power to Advance Wellbeing: power to give
Local Government (Scotland) Act        financial assistance to any person.
                                                                                            Local Services Network
2003                                   May be used to augment other powers.                 (Locality Managers)



                                                                                            Environmental Services
                                       Management Plan
Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004          Common repair issues
                                                                                            (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)
                                       Majority rule                                        Housing Services
                                       Power to appoint/dismiss property managers.          (Landlord Registration Team)

                                       Landlord Registration
Anti-Social Behaviour etc.(Scotland)   Voluntary accreditation of landlords
                                                                                            Housing Services
Act 2004                                                                                    (Landlord Registration Team)
                                       Night-time Noise team   (Part 5)
                                                                                            Environmental Services
                                                                                            (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)
                                       Prohibition Notice – where an HMO property fails
The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005           to comply with the Fire Service legislation.
                                                                                            Fife Fire & Rescue Service
                                       Carrying out of assessments to identify risks in
The Fire Safety (Scotland)             respect of harm caused by fire, and the review of
Regulations 2006                       those assessments. They also make provision
                                       about fire safety in relevant premises (as defined
                                       in section 78 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005
          LEGISLATION                            PURPOSE                                    SERVICE DELIVERY
                              Housing Renewal Area (HRA):
                              Deals with sub-standard housing and/or housing
Housing (Scotland) Act 2006   affecting the amenity of an area. Works or             Environmental Services
                              demolition Notices served to improve these issues.     (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)
                              Work Notices:
                              To bring house up to TS and keep in a reasonable       Housing Services
                              state of repair. Replaces repairs notices and
                              improvement orders under the 1987 Act.
                              Can be used to implement HRA action plans or
                              order work on single sub-standard houses.
                              Demolition notices:
                              • To deal with houses that are in serious disrepair
                              and ought to be demolished. Not covered by
                              Scheme of Assistance.
                              • Can only be used to implement HRA action plan
                              in relation to demolition of house in serious
                              disrepair.

                              Maintenance Orders & Plans:
                              Maintenance includes repairs and replacement,
                              cleaning, painting and other routine work,
                              gardening, and the reinstatement of part (but not
                              most) of premises.
                              • Charge stays on the property until it is paid off.
                              • Costs can be recovered from owners for
                              enforcement of maintenance plans and missing
                              shares paid in to maintenance account.                 Environmental Services
                              Section 146 gives a local authority the power to
                                                                                     (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)
                              serve an HMO amenity notice requiring the owner
                              of a licensable HMO to carry out work to make the
                              living
                              accommodation reasonably fit for occupation by a
                              specified number of persons
          LEGISLATION                            PURPOSE                                         SERVICE DELIVERY
Cont...                       Scheme of Assistance:
                              The Scheme of Assistance replaces the system of
                              improvement and repair grants contained in Part             Environmental Services
Housing (Scotland) Act 2006   13 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 and Part 6            (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)
                              of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. The use of
                              Closing and Demolition Orders as specified in Part
                              6 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 will remain in         Housing Services
                              force.

                              Provision of assistance for repairs, improvements,
                              adaptations and construction, as well as the
                              acquisition or sale of a house. The assistance can
                              take various forms, including grants, standard and
                              subsidised loans, practical assistance, information
                              or advice.

                              Where an adaptation to meet the needs of a
                              disabled occupant (or reinstatement) is required,
                              mandatory grant is retained for this purpose.
                              Refer to Chronically Sick And Disabled Persons
                              Scotland Act 1972.

                              Repairing Standard:
                              Section 36 of the 2006 Act allows a local authority
                              at its discretion to carry out the relevant work if it is
                              notified by a Private Rented Housing Panel that a
                              landlord is unable to comply with the Repairing
                              Standard duty or has failed or is unable to comply
                              with a repairing standard enforcement order. If the
                              local authority, while carrying out work required by
                              a repairing standard enforcement order, discovers
                              that further work is necessary to enable the
                              original work to be done, it is empowered to carry
                              out that additional work and recover the costs from
                              the landlord.
LESS FREQUENTLY USED IN HOUSING

          LEGISLATION                                PURPOSE                                        SERVICE DELIVERY
                                   The Mobile Homes Act 1983 does not apply to
                                  residents who rent their mobile homes.
The Mobile Homes Act 1983         Covers what services the site owner will provide,
                                  what improvements he or she will make to those             Environmental Services
                                  services and what use the resident is entitled to          (Housing & Anti-Social Behaviour Team)
                                  make of them.
                                  Provision for the way in which the amenity of the
                                  site is to be preserved.
                                  Provision for the site owner to repair and maintain
                                  the site.
                                  Provision for the resident to repair and maintain
                                  his or her mobile home.
                                  Provide for the site owner to have access to the
                                  pitch on which the resident’s mobile home is
                                  stationed.
Caravan Sites & Control of        Caravan sites require to be licensed under the
                                  1960 Act. Local authorities set licensing conditions
Development Act 1960              but must have regard to model standards The
                                  model standards cover such matters as site layout
                                  and open space, water and sanitation, refuse
                                  disposal, fire safety, electrical installations, storage
                                  of bottled gas and provision of emergency
                                  telephones.

Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968   Some developments providing housing with
                                  integral support will be required to be registered by
                                  SW departments. .When registration is necessary
                                                                                             Social Work Services
Chronically Sick And Disabled     the building will have to meet specific
                                  requirements for supported housing.
Persons (Scotland) Act 1972       Local Authorities have a statutory duty under
                                  Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled
                                  Persons Act to make arrangements for the
                                  provision of home adaptations and additional
                                  facilities for disabled people.
                                                 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Where a single house that is deemed to be sub-standard, a house operating as a House in Multiple Occupancy (that does
not meet the HMO Standards) or, if a house identified as a dangerous building is subject to:

   o Closing Order                     Housing (Scotland) Act 1987

   o Demolition Order                  Housing (Scotland) Act 1987

   o Dangerous Buildings Notice        Building (Scotland) Act 2003

   o Prohibition Order                 The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005

   o Demolition Notice                 Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

this may have the effect of making the occupants ‘homeless’ if the house must be vacated within a specified time period;
the displaced occupants can then apply to Fife Council for advice and assistance.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 requires Fife Council to provide advice and assistance to all applicants presenting as homeless,
regardless of whether they have been assessed as being in priority need. Section 24 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, as
amended, defines homelessness for the purposes of the Act as follows; a person is homeless if he/she has no accommodation in
the UK or elsewhere. A person is also homeless if he/she has accommodation but cannot occupy it.



June 2008

				
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