More than a quarter of private landlords in Liverpool have so far signed up to the city’s new compulsory licensing scheme.
The mandatory initiative requires all landlords in the city to have a five year licence for each of their rented properties as part of a major drive to improve standards in the sector.
Liverpool is the first major city to introduce a city-wide ‘selective licensing’ scheme, and up to 50,000 properties owned by an estimated 5,000 landlords will be covered when it becomes a legal requirement from 1 April 2015.
The first part of the application process opened in late February, and so far 1,341 landlords who between them manage 5,870 properties have registered their details.
Landlords need to complete the first part of the application process at www.liverpool.gov.uk/landlordlicensing before 1 April, including their contact details and the properties they intend to licence.
Liverpool City Council’s Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We have been really careful to make the application process as simple as possible and are extremely pleased with the take up so far.
“A wider publicity campaign is now getting underway to promote the scheme and this will further heighten awareness and encourage landlords to register.
“Liverpool has a growing number of privately rented properties and the sector is vital in meeting the city’s housing needs, so it is important that what is on offer is of high quality.
“This scheme is about giving tenants some expectation of their rights, and the city council the power to tackle breaches.”
The city council will determine that the proposed licence holder is a ‘fit and proper’ person to manage their properties including having regard, amongst other things, to any convictions for dishonesty, violence or drugs or contraventions of housing or landlord/tenant laws.
Landlords will have to meet a variety of conditions around fire, electric and gas safety; rectifying disrepair issues; tackling pest infestations; keeping the exterior in a good state of repair and dealing with complaints about anti-social behaviour caused by tenants.
Landlord licensing has the backing of campaign groups including Shelter and Generation Rent.