Government approves new Liverpool Landlord Licensing Scheme
The Government has approved a comprehensive Landlord Licensing scheme covering around 80 per cent of privately rented properties in Liverpool.
The scheme is based on poor property conditions, targeting the 16 wards in the city where at least one in five homes is owned by a private landlord.
Around 45,000 of the 55,000 properties in the original city-wide scheme – which ran from 2015-2020 – are covered, giving the council additional powers to drive up standards and keep vulnerable tenants safe, such as tackling fire and electrical safety hazards, excess cold and damp.
The wards included are: Central, Riverside, Greenbank, Kensington, Picton, Tuebrook & Stoneycroft, County, Anfield, St Michael’s, Princes Park, Kirkdale, Old Swan, Warbreck, Wavertree, Fazakerley and Everton.
A consultation carried out before the application was submitted in January this year found tenants, residents and partners were generally supportive of the proposal, with landlords and agents against.
The new application follows the rejection in January 2019 by the Government of a proposal for a citywide scheme, which was based on low housing demand.
An evaluation of the 2015-2020 city-wide licensing scheme found:
Over 34,000 inspections of licensed properties had been completed, which identified 65 per cent of properties were not fully compliant on the first visit.
Identification of 4,350 cases of the most serious category 1 and 2 hazards including disrepair and excess cold affecting the health and wellbeing of residents.
Issuing of more than 2,500 legal notices, 169 formal cautions and 197 written warnings.
More than 300 successful landlord offence prosecutions and issuing of 87 civil penalties.
The scheme is pivotal to the success of the City Plan, which commits partners to making sure all residents live in safe, inclusive and welcoming neighbourhoods.
The scheme will be introduced from April 2022 and will run for five years.
More details on the fee for landlords will be revealed in the near future.
Cabinet Member for Strategic Development and Housing, Councillor Sarah Doyle, said: “This is brilliant news for tenants living in poor housing conditions.
“Too many vulnerable people in our city are in poor housing conditions, paying rent to a landlord who doesn’t carry out essential maintenance to keep them warm and safe.
“The Landlord Licensing scheme will give us regulation of private rented houses, so that we can take action when concerns are raised.
“There is a raft of evidence which shows that council intervention forced bad landlords into taking action to improve their properties. Poor electrical and fire safety standards, as well as damp and anti-social behaviour, contribute to poor health and mental wellbeing.”
Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Abdul Qadir, said: “Our new scheme will be one of the largest in the country, covering the vast majority of properties under the original programme, ensuring landlords meet their obligations, such as putting in smoke detectors and fire doors as required by law.
“The council will make no profit from the scheme. Every single pound we get from landlords will be ring-fenced, paying for our team to be out on the streets every day inspecting homes, chasing disrepair.
“We are determined to take the strongest action against those landlords who refuse to manage and keep their properties safe.”