Agenda and minutes

Communities Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 30 November 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Addenbrooke House, Ironmasters Way, Telford, TF3 4NT

Contact: Sam Yarnall  01952 382193

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Councillor E J Carter, G H Cook, T L B Janke and R Mehta


Declarations of Interest




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 135 KB


RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2021 be confirmed and signed by the chair.


HMO Update Report pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To receive a briefing from Katherine Kynaston (Director: Housing, Employment & Infrastructure).


Prior to the substantive agenda item, the Chair was advised by the Service Delivery Manager: Governance & Legal Services on how to proceed with the meeting as the Committee was not quorate.


Members were advised that scrutiny was not a decision making body and that there were no decisions to be taken on the agenda. The Members present agreed to continue with the update on the regulation of private sector housing, with a copy of the minutes and slides to be circulated to the rest of the committee prior to the next meeting of the Committee. Any questions and queries from members to be delivered to Democratic Services for further follow-up.



The Committee received the presentation of the Service Delivery Manager: Strategic Housing & Regeneration, Housing, Employment & Infrastructure.


Members heard an update regarding ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ (HMOs). Nationally, in 2019, there were 4.5 million properties in the private rented sector, this was in contrast to 2.2 million in 2001. In Telford and Wrekin, in 2001 the Private Rented Sector accounted for 3,762 households. In 2020, it was estimated to have grown to 11,380 in the Borough.


The following reasons were noted as underlying growth:


           Increase in house prices – reduced affordability for first time buyers.

           Buoyant rental market /Buy to Let – driving up house prices.

           Welfare reform – this had led to growth in shared housing and HMOs.

           Social housing provision had also declined.


It was explained that a property was a HMO if both of the following applied:


           At least three tenants lived in a property forming more than one household.

           There existed shared toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities between tenants.

A HMO only required a licence if they met two criteria:

           There were 5 or more occupants constituting two or more households.

           There existed shared toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants.


Members heard that there was currently no requirement for private landlords to declare their rental properties to the local authority. Only landlords of licensable HMOs were required to obtain a licence from their local authority. 


At the time of the meeting, Telford and Wrekin Council licenced 244 HMOs.


Members heard that Central Government estimated that there were 497,000 HMOs in England and Wales at the end of March 2018. Telford and Wrekin Housing Benefit and Council Tax statistics showed 550 HMOs in the Borough. However, members heard that this is a rough estimate and there could be more.


Members heard that HMOs played a vital role in the local housing market; providing accommodation for single people under the age of 35 on housing benefit or universal credit. HMOs also played a role in student accommodation and transitional accommodation including for young working professionals. It was noted that the majority of HMOs were well managed and did not cause problems.


The Authority offered support and advice to landlords and tenants on areas such as affordable warmth grants. Work was being undertaken with Public Health England to carry out  ...  view the full minutes text for item COMSC32


Chair's Update