Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
Asked on: 20 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities are licensing scrap metal dealers under the terms of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.
Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
Asked on: 20 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of local authority licensing of scrap metal dealers under the terms of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.
Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 12 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Estate Agents: Licensing and Registration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to introduce (a) a registration and (b) a licensing scheme for estate agents; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 19 June 2019

We have commissioned the Regulation of Property Agents working group, chaired by Lord Best, to consider and advise Government on a new regulatory approach to letting, managing and estate agents. The group is due to report in July 2019 and Government awaits their recommendations before determining next steps.

Q
(Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what fees are being charged for HMO Licences by each Council.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 13 June 2019

The Department does not hold information on HMO licence fees being charged by each local authority in England. We would expect details of licence fees to be readily available on local authority websites or upon request.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 22 May 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Public Sector: Land
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what criteria his Department uses to monitor progress against the Government's target of releasing surplus public sector land for at least 160,000 homes.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 05 June 2019

The Public Land for Housing Programme Handbook (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-land-for-housing-programme-2015-to-2020-handbook) sets out the approach for monitoring the progress of the release of land. In order for a site to contribute to the 160,000 homes target it must provide evidence against the following criteria:

1. A conditional contract, development agreement or building licence with a private sector partner, housing association/registered provider or local authority (for the purpose of house building) is signed or freehold transfer takes place (whichever is sooner) and;

2. There is planning certainty that the site will be developed for housing.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 25 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Greater London
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many registered houses of mulitple occupancy there are in (a) the Borough of Havering and (b) London.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 03 May 2019

We estimate from local authority data returns for the period 2017-18, that there were 29 properties registered as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) with mandatory licences in the Borough of Havering, and in London we estimate there are 163,024. Since these figures were published the Government has extended mandatory licensing of HMOs to properties of any size, given 5 or more people from 2 or more households. Data on properties licensed since the extension will not be available until local authority data returns for 2018-19 are published in 2020.

Q
(Portsmouth South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Hampshire and Plymouth
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many registered Houses of Mulitple Occupancy there are in (a) Portsmouth, (b) Southampton and (c) Plymouth.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 23 April 2019

We estimate from local authority data returns for the period 2017-18, that there were 584 properties registered as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) with mandatory licences in Portsmouth; in Southampton we estimate 592; and in Plymouth we estimate there were 695. Since these figures were published the Government has extended mandatory licensing of HMOs to properties of any size, given 5 or more people from 2 or more households. Data on properties licensed since the extension will not be available until local authority data returns for 2018-19 are published in 2020.

Q
(Portsmouth South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that Houses of Mulitple Occupancy are managed effectively in (a) the UK and (b) Portsmouth.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 23 April 2019

HMO licences are issued by the local authority and are valid for up to 5 years. It is the local authority’s responsibility to ensure a licence is granted to a fit and proper landlord. Those landlords that fail to comply with regulations are subject to enforcement action from the local authority. Enforcement guidance has recently been refreshed and published.

Q
(Liverpool, Wavertree)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 03 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Liverpool Wavertree
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many houses of multiple occupation there are in each of the six council wards in Liverpool Wavertree constituency as at 1 April 2019.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The Government does not collect ward level data for mandatory licensable HMOs.

Grouped Questions: 240548
Q
(Liverpool, Wavertree)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 03 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Liverpool
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many houses of multiple occupancy are registered with Liverpool City Council.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The Government does not collect ward level data for mandatory licensable HMOs.

Grouped Questions: 240547
Q
(Liverpool, Wavertree)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 03 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Liverpool
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if his Department will undertake an impact assessment of the effect on the community in Liverpool of the mandatory HMO licensing scheme.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 08 April 2019

Through HMO licensing the Government is improving living conditions and overcrowding for many people.

The Government carried out an impact assessment on mandatory licensing for the whole of England when it was extended on 1 October 2018. There are no plans for Government to undertake an impact assessment of the effect on the community in Liverpool.

Q
Asked by Janet Daby
(Lewisham East)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that houses in multiple occupancy meet the standards prescribed under the Housing Act 2004.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 02 April 2019

The Government has given local authorities strong powers to drive up standards in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). These include mandatory, additional and selective licensing as well as civil penalties of up to £30,000, rent repayment orders and banning orders for those landlords who refuse to comply with the law.

We have also recently extended mandatory licensing of HMOs. Mandatory licensing is recognised to have improved safety and property standards in HMOs, the extension will bring an additional 170,000 properties within scope of mandatory licensing.

In addition, the Government is currently refreshing guidance for local authorities in order to help them better use these powers. Along with providing training sessions across the county, the updated guidance will ensure local authorities are aware of the extent of powers they have and how they can use them to maximum effect in all private rented sector properties, including HMOs.

Q
Asked by Hugh Gaffney
(Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill)
Asked on: 13 March 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Students
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that student accomodation is fit for habitation.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 21 March 2019

The Department is committed to raising standards in the private rented sector in England. This includes a large proportion of student accommodation. In October 2018 the department extended the criteria for licensing for houses of multiple occupation to bring a further 170,000 properties into the scope of mandatory licensing.

The Fitness for Human Habitation Act, which came into force on 20 March, will ensure that all homes are fit for human habitation at the start of a tenancy and throughout. This Act complements the existing regulatory framework and the strong powers that we have already given to local authorities to ensure that standards are met.

The department also works closely with Unipol and Universities UK to ensure that purpose-built student accommodation is properly regulated and is underpinned by student accommodation codes.

Student accommodation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved administrations.

Q
Asked on: 25 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Almshouses: Charities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the selective licensing regime, introduced in the Housing Act 2004 to tackle rogue landlords, has resulted in Almshouse Charities that are not registered providers of social housing being financially penalised.
Answered on: 11 March 2019

Only registered housing providers are exempt from selective licensing. This is to ensure that all privately rented accommodation is properly regulated. We take this approach to ensure that high standards are maintained in all rental properties and all tenants are protected. Almshouse Charities are free to register as providers of social housing and some 25 per cent already are. Where almshouses decide not to register, local authorities have discretion to discount or waive fees associated with the licensing process.

Going forward, the Government has commissioned a thorough and independent review into the effectiveness of selective licensing. This is on schedule to report in Spring 2019. The Department will consider the outcomes of the review carefully, including how selecting licensing works for local communities and charitable organisations.

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 27 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Birmingham Edgbaston
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 18 December 2019 to Question 202108 on Multiple Occupation, what estimate he has made of the number of houses of multiple occupation in Birmingham Edgbaston as at 27 February 2019.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 04 March 2019

Local authority data returns for 2018-19 will not be published until 2020 and we will not have new data available until then.

As stated in response to the previous question on this matter, Question 202108, we estimate from local authority data returns for the period 2016-2017, that there was a stock of 495,208 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in England at that time. Since the 2016-17 figures were published, Government has extended mandatory licensing of HMOs to properties of any size, given 5 or more people from more than 1 household and we estimate that this extension will bring an additional 170,000 properties within the scope of mandatory licensing.

Birmingham City Council is responsible for issuing HMO licences in Birmingham Edgbaston and therefore may be able to provide an estimate of the number of HMOs as at 27 February.

Q
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Property Guardians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk to property guardians in buildings owned by (1) the government, (2) local government, and (3) statutory bodies.
Answered on: 25 February 2019

The Housing Act 2004 is applicable to premises occupied as a dwelling by property guardians. Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities have a legal duty to keep the housing conditions in their area under review and identify any action that may need to be taken. If local authorities are aware of properties in their area occupied by property guardians, they should consider inspecting these properties proactively to identify potential health and safety hazards. The Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) applies across all premises occupied as a dwelling, including guardian properties. If hazards are present, local authorities have tough enforcement powers.

Electrical safety, gas safety and fire safety requirements apply to all private rented sector properties including guardian properties when they are residential or used as a dwelling. Fire safety in all non-domestic premises, including the common parts of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), is covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The Government has not carried out a specific assessment of the risks to property guardians in buildings under different ownership. It is the role of local authorities to inspect and take action as required. The Government is reviewing information available to guardians and local authorities about their enforcement powers to make sure this happens.

Grouped Questions: HL13586 | HL13589
Q
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Property Guardians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what risk assessment has been conducted on the dangers of breaches of (1) electrical safety, (2) gas safety, and (3) fire safety regulations for people living as property guardians.
Answered on: 25 February 2019

The Housing Act 2004 is applicable to premises occupied as a dwelling by property guardians. Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities have a legal duty to keep the housing conditions in their area under review and identify any action that may need to be taken. If local authorities are aware of properties in their area occupied by property guardians, they should consider inspecting these properties proactively to identify potential health and safety hazards. The Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) applies across all premises occupied as a dwelling, including guardian properties. If hazards are present, local authorities have tough enforcement powers.

Electrical safety, gas safety and fire safety requirements apply to all private rented sector properties including guardian properties when they are residential or used as a dwelling. Fire safety in all non-domestic premises, including the common parts of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), is covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The Government has not carried out a specific assessment of the risks to property guardians in buildings under different ownership. It is the role of local authorities to inspect and take action as required. The Government is reviewing information available to guardians and local authorities about their enforcement powers to make sure this happens.

Grouped Questions: HL13585 | HL13589
Q
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Property Guardians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the response by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 15 October 2018 (HL Deb, cols 366–8), what progress they have made in establishing whether someone who has a licence as a property guardian is living in what can be defined as a “dwelling".
Answered on: 25 February 2019

The Housing Act 2004 defines a “dwelling” as a building or part of a building occupied or intended to be occupied as a separate dwelling.  Whether a building occupied by a property guardian is in fact a dwelling would be dependent on the particular facts of the case.

Q
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Property Guardians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the relevance of the Housing Act 2004 and its application to premises occupied by a property guardian.
Answered on: 25 February 2019

The Housing Act 2004 is applicable to premises occupied as a dwelling by property guardians. Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities have a legal duty to keep the housing conditions in their area under review and identify any action that may need to be taken. If local authorities are aware of properties in their area occupied by property guardians, they should consider inspecting these properties proactively to identify potential health and safety hazards. The Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) applies across all premises occupied as a dwelling, including guardian properties. If hazards are present, local authorities have tough enforcement powers.

Electrical safety, gas safety and fire safety requirements apply to all private rented sector properties including guardian properties when they are residential or used as a dwelling. Fire safety in all non-domestic premises, including the common parts of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), is covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The Government has not carried out a specific assessment of the risks to property guardians in buildings under different ownership. It is the role of local authorities to inspect and take action as required. The Government is reviewing information available to guardians and local authorities about their enforcement powers to make sure this happens.

Grouped Questions: HL13585 | HL13586
Q
Asked on: 12 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Property Guardians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 covers the rights of individuals who hold a licence as a property guardian.
Answered on: 21 February 2019

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 will apply to any tenants occupying guardian properties on Assured Shorthold Tenancies. The provisions of the Act will not apply to people who hold licences to occupy; these individuals can contact their local authority if they are concerned about potential health and safety hazards. If these hazards are present, local authorities have tough enforcement powers that are not dependent on the type of tenancy or licence held.

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