Council installs system to register and track rented properties
Sheffield City Council has installed an IT system to help it comply with new regulations that affect how it regulates private sector landlords.
The authority – one of the UK’s largest metropolitan councils – had to licence 3,000 homes in multiple occupation (HMOs) when regulations brought in under the Housing Act 2004 came into force on 6 April this year. Under the terms of the act, HMOs are all rented properties with three or more storeys, and with five or more people living in them.
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The regulations require local councils to licence HMOs for the first time. Previously, housing teams were registering the buildings using a different business process, but the new system, Civica Public Protection, involves a more in-depth assessment of the state of repair of properties, applying a detailed health and safety rating system.
From October this year, the system will also be used to provide the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister with information relating to the management of the properties.
The ODPM will require all local authorities to file regulatory returns on 50 different aspects of the new system six months after its introduction.
Sheffield Council used Civica Public Protection to register and track the HMOs in the city, and also to establish the business processes it needed to put in place in order to licence the properties.
The council’s private sector housing team has licensed 3,000 HMOs that meet the government’s criteria for mandatory licensing, and estimates that Sheffield has a further 3,000 HMOs that will require licensing.
By April next year, the authority will begin using a mixture of selective licensing and area initiatives to increase the number of properties it regulates directly.
The Civica Public Protection system cost Sheffield Council £20,000 to implement.