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Agents slam “socially irresponsible” councils pushing licensing

ARLA Propertymark has hit out at a growing number of local councils introducing licensing schemes, calling it “socially irresponsible” to do this during the pandemic.

“This is because in these unprecedented times landlords and agents are not able to comply with the requirements and council resources are unlikely to be able to effectively enforce them” says the association on its website.

In response to proposals from Liverpool, Oxford, Doncaster, Gedling and Southend-on-Sea councils, Propertymark has reminded local authorities about guidance issued from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the need to take a pragmatic approach to the introduction of schemes during g the Coronavirus crisis, as well as a common-sense approach to enforcement.   


The guidance also says that where local authorities are in the process of introducing selective or additional Houses in Multiple Occupation licensing schemes, but these are not yet in force they should continue to take a pragmatic approach. 

It adds that councils should be prepared to pause the process completely where it is not safe and reasonable to continue or if it conflicts with the latest government advice on the Covid-19 outbreak.

“With some agents furloughed or continuing to work from home, they are unable to access relevant paperwork and documentation to complete licensing scheme applications and process fees” says Propertymark. 

“Furthermore, it remains difficult for the sector to comply with new and existing legislation, which includes access to the property to carry out maintenance work, renovation, checks or meet the requirements of any licensing schemes.

“Additionally, many landlords continue to be impacted financially with extreme Covid-19 related arrears still yet to be recovered. To this end, if landlords who cannot afford the license fee decide not to pay and remove their property from the market, tenants will be forced to seek new homes placing people at risk and spreading rather than stemming the pandemic.”

  • Mohammad Kamran  Iqbal

    Many local authorities are down to their last pennies. They will literally do anything to generate huge money to pay for their six figure salaries and bonuses. Greed.

    Barry X

    Agreed! It's just a money-making scam, nothing more, nothing less....

    Ironically its another version of the hated "room tax" that everyone got so upset about when it was on the cards for *residents* to pay it, but look how few people care or worry when it's rebranded as a "standards raising" (haha) "licencing scheme" for the endlessly fleeced, milked, over-regulated and generally targeted landlords.

    Like so many things they'll eventually discover that these sort of aggressive rip-offs (with the threat of draconian fines for anyone daring not to meekly cough-up) will only make the PRS / BTL-investment even less viable or attractive and so steadily more and more landlords will simply give up and sell up, thus reducing choice for tenants and - irony-of-ironies - in effect LOWERING standards because, as we all know, some of the people left will be the cowboy operators and rogue landlords who ignore all these bureaucratic and costly scams (I don't think of them as schemes) thus the average of what's left will be worse!

    Going back to my farmyard analogy - as I usually point out in the end they'll look back and realise they'd gone too far and killed their golden-egg laying geese.

    No matter how bad the cost in CGT etc of exiting from the PRS looks now, firstly its almost certainly going to get worse (perhaps that's one of the motives for giving us such pain - that by the time we can't stand it any more they'll also have kicked the exit tax)... but just remember, a new generation of SITTING TENANTS is coming, and will be FORCED on us through abolition of the s.21 and all the new regulations gradually strangling us. Looking back you'll see you missed the chance to sell with full vacant possession at full market value and now you have a property that probably nobody can get a mortgage for or would consider buying as an "investment" (way too much hassle and by then rent-controls will probably be back like in the bad-old 1970s) and the property will be a "trade sale" only to a cash-buyer for around 1/3 - 1/2 (if you're lucky) of its normal value.... AND you'll still have to pay CGT or something else on the pitiful amount you get.... years and years of hard work and sacrifice taken (I'd say stolen by stealth) from you!

    Rant over - but I hope you'll see it is actually factually correct and makes a number of serious points.


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