Private Sector Housing Renewal Strategy

The improvement of privately owned or rented property, where it is in poor or unfit condition, is a key requirement for the renewal and sustainability of the built environment.

As a general rule home owners are responsible for maintaining their property, however, not all can afford to do so.

Properties in poor or unsuitable condition can affect the health, safety and well being of the occupants and can also have a detrimental effect on the amenity and environment of the local area.

The Council's Housing Renewal Role

The Council is required to review the condition of the private sector housing stock and determine the most appropriate course of action to take to bring unfit or substandard properties to a satisfactory standard. The Council has a wide range of powers and practical options to deal with such properties. These range from support and guidance through to enforcement and doing the work and recovering the cost, where owners or landlords fail to carry out their responsibilities

It is the Council's preferred approach to encourage and support owners and landlords to undertake the work needed to ensure renewal and improve the quality of the stock. In appropriate circumstances, grant aid may be available for those in greatest need of help, especially to the more vulnerable groups in our society. Grant aid may also be available to landlords to improve the living conditions of their tenants.

Enforcement measures will be considered where informal action fails to achieve the repairs or improvements required. The need for this option is essential to underpin an effective renewal strategy, particularly to safeguard standards for occupying tenants.

Key parts of the Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy

The Policy

Housing Renewal

By either proactive or reactive inspections and surveys to assess the fitness of domestic properties in the district and to implement the most appropriate course of action.
Assistance and Support

To provide and administer home improvement grants and to offer mandatory grants for improvements and adaptations for the benefit of disabled occupants.
Homecheck Scheme

Mobile Home Parks and Caravan Sites
 

To monitor and enforce the Council's site licence conditions to ensure the maintenance of health and safety provisions on licensed sites.

To assist in resolving any issues that may arise from unauthorised encampments of gypsies or travellers in the district in accordance with Hampshire County Council practice guidelines.


Home Energy Conservation
 

To deliver the requirements of the Home Energy Conservation Acts; that the Council actively promotes energy saving which will lead to a reduction in domestic fuel use by improving energy efficiency and decreasing carbon dioxide emissions and to help reduce fuel poverty.

Policy Implementation

This policy came into force on 1st September 2005. The financial assistance packages have been updated from 1st January 2016.

Types of Assistance Available

The types of assistance available can be broken down into three broad categories of education, advice and encouragement; financial; enforcement.

Education, Advice and Encouragement

The Council's officers will, unless legally bound to do otherwise, attempt to resolve issues through education advice and awareness raising to help property owners undertake their responsibilities to maintain and improve their homes.

Financial Assistance

This is generally through the offer of grant assistance, although access to grant aided help is dependant on the budget provision available each year and the Council reserves the right to restrict numbers of approvals that may be issued and to maintain an enquiry waiting list as required.

Assistance for home owners/qualifying tenants:

  1. Mandatory Disabled Facilities grants, which are subject to a national means test, will be available for adaptations and associated improvements for the benefit of a disabled occupant/s based on the recommendations of the Occupational Therapist.
     
  2. Disabled Facilities loans, may be considered in certain exceptional circumstances where the above grant is insufficient to carry out the work required.
     
  3. Home improvement grants and loans may be available to qualifying home owners towards the cost of essential repairs, adaptations, energy efficiency or security measures.

    All discretionary grants and loans are subject to the Council's terms and conditions and the mandatory disabled facilities grants are subject to national terms and conditions.
     

Enforcement

The Council will work with owner occupiers, landlords and tenants to support and encourage in the maintenance and required repair and improvement of substandard property and we will use informal measures to achieve satisfactory improvement.

The initiation of formal enforcement action will only occur when other measures have failed to produce the necessary response, or where there is an urgent need for action or other law requires enforcement action.

We will ensure our primary objective of a fair, reasonable and consistent approach to enforcement through the principles of Proportionality in applying the law and securing compliance; Consistency of approach; Targeting of enforcement action; and Transparency about how the Council operates and what customers may expect.


For further information please contact\;

Private Sector Housing
Tel 01264 368000
Email envhealth@testvalley.gov.uk