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Coventry Council’s decision to press ahead with its landlord licensing scheme are irresponsible and in disregard of Government guidelines, the National Residential Landlords Association has claimed.
‘The guidelines are there to protect tenants and landlords from unnecessary contact’, said NRLA policy director Chris Norris.
‘Where a licensing scheme is introduced, landlords have to go into their properties to check that they meet the licensing obligation and maybe need to carry out non-essential works. This exposes them and the tenants to an enhanced risk of contagion.
‘Several local authorities have done the right thing and paused the introduction of new licensing schemes in response to the crisis, including Luton and Newcastle, and we are asking Coventry to do the same.
‘It would be thoroughly irresponsible of the Council to ignore the guidelines and go ahead with their plans’.
The council said it has ‘considered the issues and decided that it will continue with the implementation of the scheme’ on 4 May. However, it will be easing various measures to reduce the impact on landlords and agents and promises ‘a pragmatic, risk-based approach to enforcement during this time’.
Landlords covered by the scheme will still need to make licence applications but are advised the council ‘appreciates’ that they will not, during the lockdown, be able to enter properties to obtain certificates. ‘If certificates have lapsed, please provide the most recent copy you have available. If you have no copies of a given certificate, please upload a Word document explaining the reasons why’, it advises.