A lettings trade body says expensive council licensing schemes could force landlords to sell, making vulnerable tenants homeless or obliged to seek less good accommodation which could put them at risk of contracting Coronavirus.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents - in a response to the government’s call for information on how the Covid second wave is hitting the private rental sector - makes the claim after criticising councils for the proliferation of schemes in recent months.
ARLA, which is part of Propertymark, says many councils are pushing ahead with such schemes despite government advice which says ‘Local authorities may need to be prepared to pause the process completely where it is not safe and reasonable to continue or if it will conflict with latest government advice regarding the Covid-19.’
The association says the increase in schemes will place additional pressure on the sector in three ways:
1) Tenants will likely see the cost of licensing passed on to them via rent increases;
2) 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;
3) With some agents furloughed or working from home they are unable to access relevant paperwork and documentation to complete licensing scheme applications and process fees.
And the association warns: “Councils who are pursuing the implementation of licensing schemes are being socially irresponsible as it needlessly puts vulnerable people at risk of being infected.”
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