Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public



The Director of Housing provided a brief update on the situation that was ongoing in Stannington with regards to the mains water and gas pipes. It was highlighted that a multi-agency approach and coordinated effort had been applied in working towards resolving the issue.


Seb Odell attended the Committee and asked the following question on behalf of ACORN, which the Chair answered:


Q: We are aware that local authorities have the power to introduce selective licensing schemes for landlords that cover up to 20% of their area or 20% of the privately rented houses in their area without the need for central government approval. In February 2021, Paul Wood, then member for Housing in the Labour-run council, committed to an expansion of selective landlord licensing in the city. He told ACORN Sheffield that the council were considering several neighbourhoods as possible candidates for a new licensing scheme. The next step, as we understand it, was to investigate conditions in these areas to identify where such a scheme would be suitable. What progress has been made on this commitment?


A: We must gather geographical evidence to support the need for a scheme as we have many other enforcement tools to address property issues – this resource required for a SL scheme is intensive so we must ensure we have the evidence, at geographical level, otherwise we are at risk of judicial review.  Depending on the size of the proposed scheme could take 12 – 18 months as it would create a dedicated enforcement for housing enforcement officers as they are likely to find Category 1 hazards during inspections which means it is a big job.


We are working on areas where a SL scheme should be considered, we are currently analysing our recent private sector stock condition survey data in regard to the condition of PR properties across the city.  It’s important we analyse this first in order to be clear on why we would select a certain area for further SL investigation. 


There is a letter included in the papers and the job is in hand.



Joe Rees Jones attended the Committee and asked the following question, which the Chair answered:


Q: Sheffield Labour Students asks the Housing Committee if they would set up a method of direct communication with students, such as a hotline or complaints inbox, so that the council can be fully aware of the scale of disrepair in student housing and thus build a case for landlord licensing in these predominantly student areas because even when we aren’t affected by unaccountable landlords ourselves, we always know someone who is.


A: Selective licensing has just been explained. There is a telephone number on the council’s website to report repair issues, there is also an email. There will be a response which will largely depend on the resourcing available. I would not suggest a separate route for students. One of the challenges is dealing with the worst cases and where the team can be most effective. It is helpful to have a precise description with photos of the issues.


Contact details for the reporting of such issues were promised to be emailed to Joe Rees Jones.


The Director of Housing explained about the recording of disrepair issues for students. It was explained that the information is collated.