Enfield Council’s housing licensing was on shaky ground. Now the council faces legal action. There was strong and reasoned opposition to it at public consultations, at the cabinet meeting and at the council’s overview & scrutiny committee. In the latest twist, Enfield Council is potentially facing a judicial review in the High Court. Continue reading
Last night Enfield Council’s overview & scrutiny committee met to consider whether the cabinet’s decision to implement private rental sector housing licensing should be confirmed, referred back to the cabinet or referred to the full council. Valid questions from some members of the committee, and from the public, were ignored by the chair of the committee, by officials, and by the cabinet member for housing. New evidence, published here in the public interest, shows why the council blocked the uncomfortable questions.
In part 1 of this series, we examined Enfield Council’s flawed statistical analysis, which attempted to link the borough’s private rented sector with anti-social behaviour. In this post we look at a range of policy options the council should have explored and how, in less than a year, they went from ruling out licensing to being its advocates.
[Update 15 April 2014: Scroll down to comments for a more detailed explanation of why the statistical report is flawed.]
The basis for Enfield Council’s private rented sector licensing proposal is quantitative research conducted by Mayhew Harper Associates (MHA/NKM), which has attempted to establish a link between the private rented sector and anti-social behaviour. This has been combined with qualitative research (focus groups etc.) run by Opinion Research Services (ORS) to identify the need.
[Update 15 April 2014: Cllr Edward Smith, a Conservative who chairs Enfield Council’s housing scrutiny panel, has confirmed that the cabinet’s decision will be called in for consideration by the Overview & Scrutiny committee. Given that the committee (and the full council) has a Labour majority, the decision can only be overturned if the Labour councillors can be persuaded that the evidence base for the policy is flawed.]
Enfield Council wants to license private rented sector properties (and private landlords) in order to tackle anti-social behaviour. Is the council justified in taking this action?
The Council’s Cabinet has approved the proposal but there is still time for it to be challenged.