Earlier this week ARLA branded local councils pursuing private rental licensing during the pandemic as “socially irresponsible” – but one of the country’s largest local authorities has chosen to ignore the warning.
Manchester’s Labour council has just started a public consultation process to extend its selective licensing regime to another 1,402 private sector homes.
There are currently four schemes in operation in the city which has licensed 1,788 homes; the council says this has directly led to 260 properties seeing improvement works carried out as a result.
The consultation will be open to the public for 12 weeks and will close April 14.
Propertymark has reminded local authorities around the country about guidance issued from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on 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.
However, Manchester is continuing with its consultation.
A spokeswoman for the authority says: “The private rented sector represents the fastest growing housing sector in the city, which has doubled in the last decade.
“We know that most landlords provide a quality service, but it’s important we tackle head-on the small number of landlords who do not take their responsibility seriously.
“In the initial pilot areas we have seen some really encouraging results related to tenant safety and the quality of our neighbourhood environment.
“Selective Licensing is one element of our wider strategy to help improve standards in the private rented sector and ensure that it works well for both tenants and landlords.”
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.