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Council labelled irresponsible for pressing ahead with licensing schemes

A city council that still plans to go ahead with major new licensing schemes - despite the coronavirus crisis – has been labelled irresponsible by one local estate agent.

At the time of writing, Newcastle was still due to launch the additional and selective licensing schemes, necessitating a number of properties to be visited, inspected and measured up, on 6 April. Also, where necessary, contractors will have to be sent in to complete works.

One agent said that the council is being “socially irresponsible” to press ahead at a time when the Government is urging social distancing to limit the spread of the virus. He also said that the scheme itself is causing enormous difficulties and that the council has given very little time for compliance.

Damiano Rea, at Heaton Property, was told on only 2 March that the portal was even open for licence applications. His agency has over 100 properties that will need to be licensed. Floorplans and gas safety certificates are among the documents that have to be submitted.

Rea told the council last week that the process of uploading the various documents would take time, and some would need to be scanned. He added: “With two of my team self-isolating and school closures, which are going to further reduce staff availability, we will find it difficult to dedicate man hours to the administrative, office-based tasks that are required.”

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