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Publication - Guidance

Enhanced Enforcement Areas Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2015 local authority guidance

Published: 6 Mar 2017
Part of:
Housing
ISBN:
9781786528049

Guidance for local authorities on the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 (SSI 2015/252) Enhanced Enforcement Areas Schemes Regulations 2015.

11 page PDF

321.2kB

11 page PDF

321.2kB

Contents
Enhanced Enforcement Areas Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2015 local authority guidance
Background

11 page PDF

321.2kB

Background

1. The Enhanced Enforcement Areas Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2015 enable a local authority to apply for additional discretionary powers so that it can target enforcement action at an area characterised by poor conditions in the Private Rented Sector ( PRS).

2. The Scottish Government published its Private Rented Sector Strategy, A Place to Stay, A Place to Call Home, in 2013. The Strategy sets out the Scottish Government's vision and strategic aims for the private rented sector. It aims to improve and grow the PRS by enabling a more effective regulatory system, targeting tougher enforcement action and attracting new investment. The additional discretionary powers under the Enhanced Enforcement Areas Scheme Regulations, support this targeted approach to enforcement.

3. This guidance supplements SSI 2015/252. It sets out points for a local authority to consider when making an application to Scottish Ministers for these additional discretionary powers.

Purpose

4. These additional powers are intended to be used by a local authority to deal with the most exceptional cases of poor standards in the PRS. In such cases, a local authority could apply for Enhanced Enforcement Area ( EEA) designation where they can evidence that an area suffers from all of the following :

  • where there is a concentration of properties let by private landlords in a geographic area; and
  • where those properties are characterised as being of a poor environmental standard; and
  • there is overcrowding; and
  • a prevalence of anti-social behaviour.

5. They complement the powers that a local authority has in relation to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Landlord Registration. Local authorities have discretion to apply for EEA status and the additional powers that they consider would allow them to tackle the problems in a particular area.

6. The table on the following page, shows the additional powers and the purposes for which the local authority can exercise those powers that are set out in the Regulations.

Power

Purpose

To request an enhanced criminal record check.

To evidence that a landlord is a Fit and Proper Person (as part of the landlord registration process)

To require existing landlords who are applying for registration or renewing their registration and any individual who isn't registered to produce documents or evidence for inspection.

  • a current insurance policy
  • a copy of a tenant's acknowledgement that they have received a copy of the Tenant Information Pack.
  • that the landlord has provided the tenant with a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate for the property.
  • a copy of the record of maintenance and safety checks for gas appliances in the property.

To enable and assist the local authority to exercise any function under Part 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 (registration of landlords), to ensure the safety and upkeep of the house and to ensure that information is available to tenants.

To enter properties.

To enable or assist the local authority to decide whether the house and the building of which it forms part are safe, well managed and of good quality.

A strategic approach

7. The PRS is a diverse sector with a broad customer base, highlighting its role in meeting a wide range of housing need and demand. It is recognised as providing a good housing option for those requiring flexibility in terms of employment, for students and for those setting up homes for the first time. However, in recent years, the sector has also become a housing option for those seeking longer-term accommodation.

8. The growth of the PRS in recent years means it plays an increasingly important role in meeting the needs of individuals and families in communities across Scotland. For this reason, it is important that local authorities should consider the range of powers available to them to improve and enforce standards in the sector as part of a strategic approach to the PRS. Such an approach should encompass advice and support for landlords (either individually or through a Private Landlords' Forum), advice for tenants, as well as clear policies on tougher enforcement that is targeted at those landlords who will not or are unable to improve.

Duration of designation

9. The 2014 Act prescribes that the designation will last for five years once granted by Scottish Ministers and allows the local authority to reapply for designation before the five years has expired, ensuring continuity if this is needed.

10. Given the extensive nature of the powers that a local authority would be able to apply following designation, the Regulations provide the Scottish Ministers with the power to request a report on the local authority's use of those powers in delivering its wider strategy for improving standards in the private rented sector. The local authority must provide a report to the Scottish Ministers within three months of receiving a request.

Outcomes

11. By targeting these tougher enforcement powers at a particular area, and using them as part of a wider strategy for improving standards in the PRS, a local authority could expect to achieve the following outcomes:

  • greater compliance by landlords with landlord registration and houses in multiple occupation legislation, leading to improved standards of service for tenants;
  • improvements to property safety and repair leading to improved housing conditions for tenants renting in the enhanced enforcement area; and
  • reduction in reports of environmental standards breaches and of anti-social behaviour, leading to improved amenities for the community as a whole.

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