Landlords concerned at licensing proposals put forward by Newcastle council have only until Sunday to respond with their views.
The authority is re-designating selective licensing schemes for private rented accommodation in two areas of the city, Byker and Greater High Cross.
“Before we can introduce a licensing scheme, we have to show why we think this kind of scheme is needed, what kind of problems it is trying to tackle and why we think Selective Licensing is the only option left” says the authority in an introduction to its formal consultation.
“It is very important that we gather as many views as possible and that we give proper consideration to these views” it continues.
The consultation process is done via an online survey which you can see here.
The process in Newcastle is happening in the midst of the pandemic, with growing voices calling on councils not to push ahead with such schemes at this time.
Last week ARLA Propertymark, the letting agents’ trade body, accused many councils of being ”socially irresponsible” and safeagent, the lettings agency accreditation body, has called for a pause.
Guidance last year from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spoke of the need to take a pragmatic approach to the introduction of schemes during 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 ARLA Propertymark.