There is growing momentum for local councils to freeze their plans for landlord licensing while the pandemic continues.
Lettings agency trade body ARLA Propertymark and rental sector accreditation group Safeagent have both called for a pause, while the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has also urged councils to be cautious with licensing proposals.
However several councils have continued, including the London authority Havering.
It has asked the London Property Licensing service to share with landlords and letting agents the justification it is promoting for continuing with its scheme.
The LPL website says: “In recognition of the challenges posed by the pandemic, a council spokesperson told London Property Licensing they were trying to adopt an equitable approach. In particular:
“The council will delay proactive enforcement operations until the end of March 2021. The timescale may be further reviewed if London is still in lockdown. When enforcement action resumes, the council will concentrate on properties where tenants have complained about poor housing conditions;
“Licence applications submitted with missing paperwork will be accepted and processed. The council appreciate there are difficulties gaining access and are mindful of the public health concerns associated with visiting properties at this time.”
New additional and selective landlord licensing schemes came into force in Havering on Monday of this week.
That means that in addition to the mandatory HMO licensing scheme that applies across England, Havering has two additional licensing schemes and one selective licensing scheme.
The council is extending a small discount of £35 per property for accredited landlords; otherwise Havering’s fee for selective and additional licensing - £900 per property - is the joint highest selective licensing fee in London according to LPL.