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Coventry Council ignoring government Covid-19 guidelines

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Landlords have accused Coventry Council of being irresponsible for ignoring government coronavirus guidelines by going ahead with plans to implement a licensing scheme for private rented housing.

The Council intends to bring in a licensing scheme from 4th May despite government guidelines which advise that the introduction of new, non-mandatory licensing schemes should be paused.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has written to the Council asking them to defer the scheme’s introduction.

Commenting on the Council’s plans, the Policy Director for the NRLA, Chris Norris, said:

“The guidelines are there to protect tenants and landlords from unnecessary contact. Where a licensing scheme is introduced, landlords have to go into their properties to check that they meet the licensing obligation and maybe need to carry out non-essential works. This exposes them and the tenants to an enhanced risk of contagion.

“Several local authorities have done the right thing and paused the introduction of new licensing schemes in response to the crisis including Luton and Newcastle and we are asking Coventry to do the same.

“It would be thoroughly irresponsible of the Council to ignore the guidelines and go ahead with their plans.”

Where local authorities are in the process of introducing non-mandatory licensing schemes, but these are not yet in force, they should consider pausing these at an appropriate point, in line with the advice on proactive and reactive work.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.


  • I am one such landlord in Coventry.
    I have no experience of HMO’s and because my only property will fall in the 3 person it looks like I will have to apply for a licence. With this in mind I booked in for a Council iniative meeting to explain more to landlords like myself. This was cancelled so I could not get any more information. You also cannot access paid visits from the council to your property so they can advise you. And of course any work you may need to do on the properties to comply with the legislation is now impossible.
    So what do I do ? I cannot get things done to comply even though the council admit to not being able to support landlords. It is madness.

    • Hi Victoria, Chris and fellow RLA/NRLA members.

      First of all, a huge thankyou to the RLA, now NRLA for representing our interests. Can I take this opportunity to add to what Chris has pointed out in his response.

      Above all, There is a government directive to minimise the spread of coronavirus and in doing so they have given local councils a mechanism to suspend or delay any implementation of such schemes This is to assist the authorities and the public in preventing the spread of this virus. My Tenants are currently living half way around the world from their families. They are fearful of contracting the virus and their families are very concerned for their safety. Prior to the ‘lockdown’ I notified them that there would be inspections at the property that may lead to me putting contractors on site in order to address any improvements or modifications that maybe required to meet licencing standards. They are very nervous of this taking place due to the inherent risk of contracting the Covid 19 and have asked if this can be delayed for the for seeable future. Moreover, the risk from myself, inspectors and contractors passing the virus onto the tenants could just as easily be reciprocated.

      My point is hopefully clear, that even if inspections could be facilitated and contractors secured, does the benefit of the protection of a licencing scheme out way the potential for the spread of this virus. When we are constantly reminded of the worst possible outcome of Covid 19 isn’t it is time that we woke up and realised that we are in the middle of a disaster and that all resources should be aimed at keeping people safe. There is no reason that the licence scheme cannot be re initiated once the imminent and immediate threat has substantially subsided.

      Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives. Best wishes, Jon

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