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Have your say on proposed new Private Sector Housing Standard

News release from 10/05/2018

A CONSULTATION has been launched this week by Cambridge City Council inviting views on a proposed new Private Sector Housing Standard for Cambridge.

The main purpose of the proposed Private Sector Housing Standard is to further protect the health, safety and general wellbeing of tenants, by providing a clear and consistent local standard for landlords and property managers who have private rental properties. 

The proposed standard has been drafted to cover key areas in order to assist landlords and property managers in providing safe and suitable accommodation in compliance with relevant national legislation.

The areas covered by the proposed standard are:

  • The definition of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) under the Housing Act 2004;
  • HMO licensing criteria;
  • Fire safety standards;
  • Amenities standards;
  • Minimum space standards in terms of sleeping rooms. 

The Housing Act 2004 gives local housing authorities the power to set their own standards in respect of HMOs, providing they are equal to or higher than national minimum prescribed standards. 

This ensures that the nature of the housing stock within an area is taken into account when setting certain minimum standards, along with other relevant factors such as the desire to prevent social exclusion.

These minimum standards, which may ultimately be enforced against in certain circumstances, could include, for example, the amount of useable space and room size in properties.

The council is inviting comments from anyone who may be affected by the introduction of the new standard, from tenants in the private rental sector to local residents, landlords, letting agents and managing agents.

Cllr Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing said: “We need to continue addressing the high demand for housing in Cambridge to ensure it remains a good place to live. One of the ways we can do this is by helping landlords to provide the right standard of private rented accommodation for their tenants.

“The proposed new set of standards aims to provide clear guidance for both landlords and tenants ahead of a change in the law relating to the licensing of HMOs which is due in October.

“The vast majority of landlords and property managers in Cambridge provide good quality, safe accommodation for their tenants, but we will continue to take action if necessary where the required standards are not being met.”

The consultation will run until Tuesday 29 May and can be accessed on the council website where there is a link to a questionnaire. 

Alternatively, paper copies of the draft Private Sector Housing Standard and consultation questionnaire can be requested by telephoning 01223 458050.

All comments received in response to the consultation will be collated and used to inform a decision regarding the adoption of the Private Sector Housing Standard, which is set to be considered by councillors at Housing Scrutiny Committee on 19 June.

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