Not-for-profit accreditation service safeagent says the government should ensure councils delay the introduction of all new private rental sector licensing schemes for six months.
In the wake of the Coronavirus, safeagent says licensing schemes not already in force should be delayed now and reviewed again later in the year.
In a statement the body says this approach is two-fold; to ensure focus on maintaining core services through what lies ahead, and to discourage non-essential property inspections that could add to community spread of the virus.
safeagent, along with London Property Licensing, has examined property licensing and specifically wants a six month moratorium on approving any new selective licensing schemes, and to withdraw schemes that have already been approved but are not yet in force.
Any new licensing consultations not already underway should be delayed for a similar period of time.
“The lettings industry, and millions of tenants reliant upon it, will be placed under immense pressure in the months ahead. In this context, now is not the right time to implement new property licensing schemes that will necessitate thousands of extra property inspections” explains safeagent chief executive Isobel Thomson.
And Richard Tacagni, the managing director of London Property Licensing, adds: “It seems likely that the limited resources in local government, and the expertise offered by environmental health officers, will need to be re-focussed on maintaining key public services to support the wider public health agenda. It is important that the lettings industry, central and local government work in close collaboration to tackle the challenges ahead”.