Stop cynical life-threatening licensing money-grab during pandemic crisis

Stop cynical life-threatening licensing money-grab during pandemic crisis

11:08 AM, 22nd January 2021, About 5 months ago 3

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Momentum is building against councils pushing ahead with licensing schemes despite the pandemic and despite instructions from the government not to.

One wonders why so many councils are going against the Governments wishes and public health concern to instigate policies which, during the crisis will seriously increase the Covid risk to many tens of thousands of tenants and trades-persons in their districts.

Could it be that these councils are only interested in the tens of £millions of revenue they can generate from licensing schemes that appear to do little or nothing to improve housing standards?  And the hundreds of £millions they will be able to generate between them from Civil Financial Penalty Fines which we have watched become almost the sole purpose of housing departments in council after council across the country? You can be certain that’s the reason.

They have all discovered that fining landlords is the golden goose, the biggest cash-cow or gravy-train they could possibly dream of. They care about nothing that will stop them in the cynical pursuit of money. Why else would they go against the government and endanger the lives of tens of thousands of tenants?

Earlier this week ARLA Propertymark, the letting agents’ trade body, accused many councils of being “socially irresponsible” and now safeagent, the lettings agency accreditation body, has called for a pause.

In April last year – shortly after the scale of the pandemic became clear the government publicly advised councils that there should be a pause on new additional and selective licensing schemes.  Since then, several councils have resumed new schemes requiring tens of thousands of licence applications to be prepared.

Safeagent, working with the London Property Licensing service, is calling on the government to do three things.

Firstly, a further six-month moratorium by the government on new selective schemes; secondly a review by local councils on whether licensing scheme designations made but not yet in force should be withdrawn or delayed.  Thirdly, and allied to the pause on licensing, safeagent wants a six-month delay on new electrical safety standards being introduced for existing tenancies, pushing the deadline out until October 1.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require all occupied private rented homes in England to have an Electrical Inspection Condition Report by April 1 – an estimated 4.5m households.

“Now is not the right time to implement any new licensing schemes or electrical safety regulations. Not only do they add pressure to much-needed resource, they necessitate thousands of extra property inspections, which create too much risk of transmission, even with precautions. We believe there should be a blanket delay of both across England” explains Isobel Thomson, chief executive of safeagent.

“This needs to happen in response to the latest stage of the outbreak. If the date for evictions can be delayed, surely the implementation date for electrical checks can also be put back?” she asks.

Richard Tacagni, managing director of London Property Licensing, adds: “Now is not the time for electricians to inspect electrical installations in every privately rented home in England, yet it is a legal requirement for landlords to do so by April 1. Even with the best safety measures, electricians must enter every room, touch sockets, switches and other electrical fittings before moving onto the next occupied property.

‘Likewise, pausing new licensing schemes will avoid people having to enter private rented properties to prepare floorplans, measure room sizes and collect the information needed to apply. Undertaking these inspections will place tenants at increased risk of infection.”

Phil Turtle M.Sc. Compliance Director

Landlord Licensing & Defence www.landlordsdefence.co.uk



Comments

by DSR

16:14 PM, 22nd January 2021, About 5 months ago

a total case of £££'s into the Council coffers and sod the reality of what it actually means.
As a LL I have little defence in the eyes of the law, so I for one will be making sure if at any point in the future, I too shall be quoting mental health issues/stress and stating very clearly that I have taken the moral high ground and ensured that while doing everything I can for my tenants during the pandemic, I will NOT be putting the pressure on tradesman to ask them to carry out anything that I deem 'socially irresponsible'. Emergencies are one thing, things that can be put back, should be put back. If transmission and infection isn't an issue, why are we in Lockdown????

by Northernpleb

19:50 PM, 22nd January 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by RL at 22/01/2021 - 16:14
Hi RL
You wont get the chance to quote anything. And believe me you will be suffering from stress The council HSSR inspections they are the Judge Jury and executioner and there is no way they are leaving without finding fault or Hazards that they will enable them to charge you for the Notice. they also charge the agent . I am not sure what all councils are charging but this week it was going to be £485 for the report, for the Landlord and another £485 because I manage my own through an agency. Then up to £30000 for each offence. That is serious wonka. Up to a maximum of £90000. You will then be given 28 days to get all the work done even if the tenant has caused the damage. You could be faced with up to £90000 on one property plus another £90000 for the agent . And if anyone thinks it will not happen to me dream on. On one inspection it was an Hazzard because the Door could not be locked (Tenant had lost the Key) Also expect a visit if you try to evict anyone.

by Jon D

13:50 PM, 23rd January 2021, About 5 months ago

Of course, here in the Socialist Republic of the UK the tenant now has the weight of law behind them. Councils are broke.
70% of the council budget is staff. Salaries, pension contributions, holidays, sick pay and so on. You are paying to keep people in jobs.
Privatise councils now.
Let Google run the council. They have the capability to do it.


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