The Government has provided Local Authorities with guidance on the enforcement of standards in private rented properties during the COVID – 19 outbreak.
This Council accepts during this time it may be harder for us to carry out our usual work given staff levels and the need for us all to maintain strict separation distances. However we must keep housing standards under review and have a duty to take appropriate action when we find ‘category 1’ hazards. We are therefore taking a pragmatic approach, one that ensures tenants are kept safe and landlords are supported and decisions will be assessed on risk.
The Council will therefore take the following approach:
- Tackle serious hazards, those that (or are likely to) pose an imminent risk to a tenants health
- Deal with any cases where we have vulnerable tenants
- De-prioritise lower risk hazards
Assessments where required will be made through means such as photographs, video etc. Where this is not practicable and the risk is potentially serious then an inspection maybe necessary, in which case the effective use of maintaining strict separation will be carefully considered taking into account the use of PPE, government guidance and our own Health and Safety Policy.
Our Selective Licensing Scheme for South Wigston comes into force on 5 May 2020 and covers 885 properties. In light of the outbreak the original application deadline of 5 August 2020 has been extended until 30 November 2020. A further 3 months will then be given for any supporting documentation to be provided (where missing) such as fire safety inspections, electrical installation reports etc. Our online portal will remain open should landlords wish to submit an application before this date which is still encouraged.
We are in the process of updating information on our website to make landlords aware of the changes and this will be kept under continuous review as the pandemic develops.