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Suspend electrical and licensing inspections during lockdown, say industry groups

Risks for electrical safety and property licensing inspectors are too great to justify further enforcement action, it is claimed.

Nigel Lewis

property inspection

Three key industry bodies have warned the government to pause new property licensing schemes and suspend electrical safety inspections or risk increasing the spread of Covid.

All England’s 4.5 million private rented homes in England will need an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) by 1st April  each involving hours spent by tradespeople inside a property.

And despite government advice last year that there should be a pause in new additional and selective licensing schemes, some councils have resumed them.

Safeagent and London Property Licensing are now calling for a further six-month moratorium on approving any new selective licensing schemes.

They also want councils to impose a six-month pause on making any new additional and/or selective licensing schemes designations, as well as to review whether scheme designations made, but not yet in force, should be withdrawn or the implementation date paused.

They add that the extension of the Electrical Safety Standards regulations to existing tenancies should be delayed by six months, until 1st October.

Limit Covid

Propertymark concurs, saying that many local authorities have continued to push ahead with licensing schemes and that this will not help limit the transmission of Covid.

It says that with some agents furloughed or continuing to work from home, many staff can’t access relevant paperwork and documentation to complete licensing scheme applications and process fees.

Propertymark adds that if landlords who can’t afford the license fee remove their property from the market, tenants will be forced to seek new homes, putting people at risk.

Isobel Thomson, NALS, imaeIsobel Thomson, Chief Executive, Safeagent (pictured), says: “Now is not the right time to implement any new licensing schemes or electrical safety regulations.

“Not only do they add pressure to much needed resource, they necessitate thousands of extra property inspections, which create too much risk of transmission, even with precautions. We believe there should be a blanket delay of both across England.

“This needs to happen response to the latest stage of the outbreak. If the date for evictions can be delayed, surely the implementation date for electrical checks can also be put back?.”

January 22, 2021

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