Applying for Enhanced Enforcement Area Designation
12. An application for designation to Scottish Ministers must be made in writing. The local authority should set out its wider strategy for promoting good practice and ensuring private landlords' compliance with existing legislation and for improving the poor environmental standard of the private rented housing in the area. A checklist of what information a local authority must submit to Scottish Ministers, in its application for an area to be designated, is provided at Annex 1.
13. The strategy would outline work that the local authority is doing, or plans to do, to tackle bad practice - either directly or by working with other bodies, agencies or community groups and to improve environmental standards.
Identifying an area for designation as an Enhanced Enforcement Area
14. The Regulations enable a local authority to define the area that is to be designated. The area must have the characteristics that are set out in Section 28 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014.
15. An application might cover one tenement building, two or more adjacent tenements or other houses in a street, one street, or could be a larger area delineated by a number of streets or by a postcode area. The application to Scottish Ministers must include a description or plan that clearly identifies the area.
Evidence to support the application
16. The application must include a summary of the evidence that the local authority has considered when determining that it would make an application for designation.
17. The Regulations are not prescriptive about the types of evidence that a local authority would be required to submit with an application. This is because the Scottish Government recognises that the exceptional nature of the circumstances that EEA powers are intended to deal with, are likely to be unique to each application.
18. The examples set out in Annex 2 are offered as an illustration of the types of evidence that a local authority might consider gathering to support its decision to apply for an area to be designated as an EEA.
19. The information is grouped under each criteria by way of example and is not exhaustive. It may be that some information could provide evidence of two of the characteristics. For example, "Evidence from health practitioners that housing conditions are affecting the health of tenants" could be evidence of both poor environmental standards and of overcrowding.
Statement of the powers that are being sought
20. An application by a local authority must include information about the powers that are being sought, how they will be used and how they will enhance the local authority's general strategy for improving the PRS.
Advertising that an area has been designated
21. The Regulations require the local authority to publicise that an area has been designated as an Enhanced Enforcement Area. As the circumstances for each area will differ, the local authority is able decide the most suitable approach to letting landlords, tenants and the wider community know that the designation has been granted. The application to the Scottish Ministers must set out the approach that the local authority has determined would be the most effective way to advertise that a designation has been granted.
22. Possible examples of how a local authority may advertise a designated EEA include:
- writing to the occupants of all properties in the designated area;
- writing to all registered landlords in the area;
- publishing a notice of the designation in a local newspaper or community council newsletter;
- information leaflets/posters within a local library, community centre, council or housing association office; and/or
- wide distribution of an information sheet on the designation in the area.
23. A local authority may also wish to give consideration to providing translation of the designation notices into other languages, in order to make it as accessible as possible to those living within the area.
Considering the application and granting designation
24. The Scottish Ministers will consider an application by a local authority. Before granting designation, and the additional discretionary powers that are being sought, they will have to be satisfied that the application:
- clearly identifies the area to be designated;
- sets out the local authority's wider strategy for improving standards in the PRS;
- provides a summary of the evidence considered by the local authority that demonstrates that the area to be designated meets the characteristics described in the legislation;
- states the powers that are being sought and the purposes for which these will be used and how this fits with the wider strategy for the PRS; and
- details how the local authority will advertise the designation, particularly to landlords, tenants and the wider community in the area to be designated.
25. The Scottish Ministers will notify the local authority of their decision in writing, usually within 28 working days. However, this will be dependent on whether sufficient evidence to support the designation has been submitted with the local authority application.
26. Once granted, it will be for a local authority to consider how best to advertise notice of the designation to people living within the area affected (see paragraphs 21-23).
27. Following designation, a local authority may also wish to give consideration as to how they will record what additional powers are used and the impact of those powers in improving overall standards within the area. This will be particularly important should the Scottish Ministers request a progress report on the impact of the EEA designation (see paragraph 10).