Accreditation scheme safeagent and consultancy London Property Licensing have joined forces to claim that now is not the time to be extending or introducing Select or HMO licensing schemes.

All proposed new or expanded property licensing schemes should be put on ice for six months until the Coronavirus pandemic is over, two leading organisations have said.

Accreditation scheme safeagent and housing consultancy London Property Licensing are calling for both new HMO or Select Licensing schemes to be delayed and reviewed again in six months’ time.

This, they claim, will free up local authority resources and discourage non-essential property inspection that ‘could add to community spread of the virus’.

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The two organisations are asking Secretary of State Robert Jenrick to introduce a six-month moratorium on approving any more selective or HMO licensing schemes.

They are also calling on local authorities to pause any new additional or selective licensing scheme designations for six months, while any existing consultations not already underway should be delayed, also for six months.

“This is not an anti-licensing proposal, but rather a sensible measure in response to Coronavirus,” says Isobel Thomson, CEO of safeagent.

“Right now, the sector needs to hunker down. We need to free up local government and lettings industry resources to focus on more urgent tasks.”

Richard Tacagni, MD of London Property Licensing, says: “It seems likely that the limited resources in local government, and the expertise offered by Environmental Health Officers, will need to be re-focused on maintaining key public services to support the wider public health agenda.”

Exclusive: what would this mean in London?

London Property Licensing has compiled this list of ‘live’ proposed consultations and schemes in London including those that would be affected by a six-month moratorium (in bold).

  • Camden: recently consulted on renewal of their additional licensing (AL) scheme. Current scheme ends Dec 2020
  • Croydon: recently consulted on renewal of their selective licensing (SL) scheme. Current scheme ends Sept 2020
  • Enfield: new AL scheme starts Sept 2020; awaiting decision about proposed SL scheme
  • Havering: consultation on new AL & SL schemes ended Sept 2019; awaiting decision on implementation
  • Hounslow: recently consulted on new AL scheme; awaiting decision
  • Islington: recently consulted on new AL scheme; awaiting decision
  • Lewisham: recently consulted on new AL & SL schemes; awaiting decision
  • Waltham Forest: AL scheme approved and starts 1 April; SL scheme renewal approved and starts 1 May
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