Borough appears to following landlords’ advice that all visits other than essential maintenance would put tenants and staff at risk.

Greenwich is the latest London borough to pause its selective licensing consultation in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

The council kicked off the process in February which was due to end on 26th April but has decided to call a halt due to ‘safety issues’.

It already operates a borough-wide HMO licensing scheme but wants a new scheme to cover parts of Plumstead, Glyndon, Shooters Hill, Woolwich Common and Woolwich Riverside.

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Greenwich council believes selective licensing will help it improve town centres by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, while improving living conditions for tenants.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has written to all local authorities currently consulting on licensing schemes, such as Greenwich, asking them to extend consultation periods. It says current legal restrictions mean landlords won’t be able to attend council-run forums.

Along with the National Landlords Association, it’s also calling for a suspension of routine inspections of properties by landlords and a temporary halt on enforcement action by local authorities where landlords can’t fulfil certain non-essential obligations because of the health risks.

In a letter sent to all authorities, the RLA says: “At this time, it is only sensible to restrict visits to property to only those required to address issues of tenant safety and the habitability of the property, such as heating failure and water supply and sanitation problems.” Nearby borough Camden has suspended inspections while Luton’s scheme, which was scheduled for 1st May, has now been deferred.

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