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Have your say - Housing Enforcement And Licensing Policy

The council is committed to improving housing standards and ensuring that properties within the private rented sector are well managed, free from hazards and safe for those who occupy them.With recent changes to housing legislation Medway Council has updated and drafted it's Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy.

We would like to get the views of residents, tenants, landlords, housing organisations and other interested stakeholders on the policy. All responses received will be key in helping us to make sure we have included the right approach in the policy.  

This survey will run from 12 February 2020 to 10 March 2020.

Taking part in the survey

Taking part in the survey is voluntary. Before taking part you should read our privacy notice as this tells you about the information we collect and what we will do with it.
This notice is about Medway Council and the collection of personal information for the Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy 2020. In this notice, Medway Council will be referred to as ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’.

Medway Council is the data controller (contact details below) for the information you provide when completing the Housing Enforcement and Licensing policy consultation.  This means it decides how your personal data is processed and for what purposes.
Medway Council has revised its Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy 2020 to include all the current changes in the legislation, the responses received will be key in helping us to make sure the policy is covering the right things and if there is anything else we should consider before the policy is agreed through the Council’s decision making processes.
By taking part in the survey you will be agreeing to us processing your personal information in the analysis of your response. The types of activity this includes is:

·processing your survey;
·grouping and analysing the results by different characteristics and types of respondents e.g. age group or whether you are a landlord or a tenant, homeowner etc.
·Sharing aggregated results with other parts of the council
We will collect and process the following personal information about you:

·Your sex
·Your age group
·Your ethnicity
·If you have a long term illness or disability and the broad category of illness or disability

If you are responding as an organisation we will ask for the name of the organisation you work for.

For all respondents we will ask you what type of respondent you are e.g. landlord, tenant, freeholder etc.
When completing the survey you will provide information about who you are (demographics) if you are responding as an individual or your organisation name if you are responding on behalf of an organisation. We ask each type of respondent whether you are responding as a landlord or an owner, tenant etc. We provide more detail below about how we use each category of information.

Your information will not be passed to any third parties unless we are required to do so by law for example as part of a criminal or fraud investigation.

The information you provide will not be used to report on individual responses. We will combine your response with all the other responses we receive to create statistical reports of the results of the survey to allow us to identify trends in responses between different groups of users.
The information below explains how we use each of the categories of data.
Who you are

The demographic information (age group, sex, ethnicity and if you have a long term illness or disability) you provide is used to:

·Understand the profile of respondents and how it compares to Medway as a whole,
·help us understand the demographics (age group, sex, ethnicity and long term illness or disability status) of who has responded to the survey and if there are any differences between groups.

The information you provide is pseudonymised; that means that the personal information we ask for is grouped by a field which makes it harder to identify a person for example instead of using your month and year of birth we ask your age group.
Your organisation

If you are responding on behalf of an organisation you will be asked to provide your organisation name.
We will keep the completed surveys for 3 years after the close of the survey.
We will process your data as you have given your consent to complete the survey. After you have submitted the survey we have a legitimate interest in the processing of your personal data for the specific purposes outlined in the ‘how we use your information section’.

We will ask you for your consent for aspects which are not vital for the running of the survey at each relevant point of the survey.
As we are using your personal information on the basis of your consent, you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. You can do so by e-mailing psh@medway.gov.uk and withdrawing your consent. This is one of your data processing rights, a summary of your other rights can be seen below.
The right to be informed – You have the right to be told how your personal information will be used. This notice, and shorter statements we use in our communications, are intended to be a clear description of how your data may be used.

The right of access - You can write to us asking what information we hold on you and to request a copy of that information. This is called a Subject Access Request. We will have 30 days to respond to you once we are satisfied you have the right to see the requested records and we have successfully confirmed your identity. Details on how to submit a Subject Access Request can be found on our data protection page.
The right to rectification - If you believe our records are inaccurate you have the right to ask for the records concerning you to be updated. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate data we hold about you corrected. We may need to verify the accuracy of the new data provided to us. You can let us know about any changes to your information by emailing psh@medway.gov.uk.

The right to erasure – this is also known as ‘your right to be forgotten’. If you withdraw your consent for the processing of your data we will delete the personally identifiable information we hold about you.

The right to restrict processing – you have the right to restrict our processing of your data in some cases for example if we disagree about the accuracy of the data.
The right to data portability – as you have given your data by consent you have the right to request a copy of your personally identifiable information. This information can be passed directly to you or a third party in a machine readable format.

The right to object – as you have given your data by consent you do not have the right to object to your data being processed, but you are able to withdraw your consent at any time you choose by emailing psh@medway.gov.uk. You do have the right to object to your data being used for direct marketing purposes.
Rights in relation to automated decision making – In a situation where a data controller is using your personal data in a computerised model or algorithm to make decisions “that have a legal effect on you”, you have the right to object. For example if you were applying for a mortgage or finance products. We do not undertake complex computerised decision making that produce legal effects.
If you would like to contact us for more information about the Rights of Way Improvement Plan you can contact us by email at psh@medway.gov.uk or in writing to the Public Rights of Way Team, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, ME4 4TR.

If you have any queries or complaints about this privacy notice please contact us:-

Data Protection Officer; Gayle Jones on 01634 334329, by email at GDPR@medway.gov.uk or write to the Data Protection Officer, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, ME4 4TR.

If you are unhappy with the response to a complaint you have made you can contact the Information Commissioners Office:-

By phone on 0303 123 1113, online at  www.ico.org.uk  or at the Information Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.
  Are you happy to take part in the Housing Enforcement And Licensing Policy survey?

Taking part

Thank you for your initial interest in the Housing Enforcement And Licensing Policy survey. Unfortunately as you do not want to give your permission to take part we cannot process your personal information. If you change your mind you can take part in the survey whilst it is open. Please close your internet browser now to end this survey.

Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy

The council is committed to improving housing standards and ensuring that properties within the private rented sector are well managed, free from hazards and safe for those who occupy them. Whilst the council recognises that the majority of landlords operate in a legal and professional manner and work hard to ensure that their properties meet the required standards, there are some landlords who fail to maintain, manage their property poorly and, in some cases, knowingly break the law.

Medway Council has revised its ‘Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy’ to account of recent changes in legislation. The policy now incorporates a wider range of tools and powers available to regulate private sector housing in Medway.
You can read the Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy here. The questions that follow will ask you about the policy and if there are other things the council should consider.

Complaint Handling

All tenants are encouraged to contact their landlord with any complaints in the first instance. Where the council does receive a complaint, from tenants and other residents, about private sector housing the Private Sector Housing team will investigate and respond. Complaints received will be prioritised on an assessment of the risk and seriousness of the issues. In the case of private sector housing complaints the council will deal with them on an informal basis at first, unless the landlord has a history of non complaince.
  Do you agree or disagree with the council's approach to deal with all new complaints from tenants informally at first (unless the landlord has a history of non-compliance)?

Complaint Handling

There may be occasions where an investigating officer cannot substantiate the complaint. When this arises, the council will not take any further action.
We may decide not to provide a service or to cease providing a service to investigate the complaint:

·Where the tenant(s) unreasonably refuses access to the landlord, managing agent or landlord’s builder, to arrange or carry out works.
·Where the tenant(s) have, in the opinion of the council, clearly caused the damage to the property they are complaining about, such damage does not present an imminent risk to health and safety, and there are no other items of disrepair.
·Where the tenant(s) have requested a service and then failed to keep an appointment and not responded to a follow up letter or appointment card.
·Where the tenant(s) have been aggressive, threatening, verbally or physically abusive towards council officers.
·Where there is found to be no justification for the complaint on visiting the property.
·Where the tenant unreasonably refuses to provide the council with relevant documentation or information.
  Do you agree or disagree with the council's approach on when not to provide a service or to cease providing a service as described above?

Supporting Landlords

The council recognises that engaging with landlords, managing agents and tenants on an informal basis, providing discussion forums and opportunities for training is an invaluable way of raising standards and promoting good quality private sector accommodation.
  Do you agree or disagree that the current landlord forums, landlord focus group and other organised CPD training courses, equip ‘landlords’ with adequate advice and guidance to meet their legal obligations to current housing legislation?

Implementing Financial Penalties

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 gives the local housing authorities the power to impose civil penalties as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences.

A financial penalty may be of any amount up to the statutory maximum of £30,000. However, local housing authorities are expected to reserve the higher amounts for the most serious offenders and take a logical and proportionate approach to setting the level of financial penalties more generally. The overarching principle is that the more serious the offence, the higher the penalty should be.
The penalty for each offence must therefore be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Having due regard to the statutory guidance published by Government, the council has developed a table of financial penalties. The table specifies a range of starting points for fines from £1,000 to £30,000. The starting point is determined by the severity of the offence, which is based on an assessment of the following factors:

·Culpability - a higher penalty will be appropriate where the landlord or agent has a history of failing to comply with their legal obligation
·Track record - a historically non-compliant landlord or agent
·Portfolio size - taking into account the number of properties of the landlord or agent’s portfolio
·Risk of harm - the council will make an assessment of the seriousness of the harm as well as the likelihood of that harm occurring
  Do you agree or disagree, that the method we have adopted to calculate the level of financial penalty is clear and easy to understand?

The Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England Regulations 2015)

Private rented landlords are required to provide:

·At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties.
·A carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. coal fire, wood burning stove)

Landlords are required to ensure that such alarms are in proper working order at the start of each new tenancy.

The council can impose a fine of up to £5000, where a landlord fails to comply with a Remedial Notice. In the case of a first breach of the requirements the council has set a penalty charge of £1,000.
  Do you agree or disagree that a penalty charge of £1,000 for the first breach of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm regulations would act as a deterrent to prevent future non-compliance?

Selective And Additional Licensing

Currently local authorities have powers to introduce selective and additional licensing of privately rented homes and smaller Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO), in order to tackle problems in their areas.

Selective Licensing is a tool that local authorities can use to address one or more of the following issues:

·Low housing demand
·A significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour (ASB)
·Poor property conditions
·High levels of migration
·High levels of deprivation
·High levels of crime
  Should the council consider implementing a selective and additional licensing scheme in Medway?

Other considerations


Your interest in the Housing Enforcement And Licensing Policy

  Are you responding as

About your organisation

  Which best describes you?

About you

  Which best describes you?

About you

Medway is committed to consulting with all its residents and interested parties so, to ensure that all groups within the community have the opportunity to participate, we would appreciate it if you could provide us with the following information. The information provided will remain private and confidential and will not be used for any other purpose. You are under no obligation to provide the following information and it will not affect your response if you choose not to.

  Are you?
  In which of the following age bands do you fall?
  What is your ethnic group?
  Do you have any long-standing health problem or disability? Long-standing means anything that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months.

Your response

Thank you for completing this survey.

Please press the submit button below to send us your views
After you press submit you will be taken to the Medway Council website.

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