Terraced houses

Landlords can dip in housing pool

Owners of vacant properties in Liverpool are being offered extra support to help them attract new tenants.

Liverpool City Council is rolling out a new incentive for landlords from today (Monday 3 December), giving them the chance to advertise their properties on Property Pool Plus.

The service allows local people who are looking for affordable housing in the area to see what properties are available, and express an interest in selecting a suitable new home. The system is used by Liverpool, Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, and Wirral Councils, and over 20 housing associations, to advertise and let their vacant properties.

Now, by opening up Property Pool Plus to private landlords, the council hopes to give them a helping hand in letting thousands more people know that their properties are available for rent. It also means residents who are registered on the system will have a wider choice of available accommodation, from both the social and private rented market.

The new incentive – which supports the drive to bring empty homes across Liverpool back into use
– is the first to be launched under the council’s ’10 Point Pledge’ for landlords. The pledge aims to build on the positive relationship the council has with many landlords while taking a robust stance against the small minority of poor landlords and providing a level playing field for all.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “We are fully committed to driving up the quality of Liverpool’s private rented sector. To achieve that, it’s vital we work closely with landlords, offer them support and create new opportunities which they can take advantage of.

“Adding private rented properties to Property Pool Plus is a great way of promoting good landlords in the city and helping them find tenants. It will also support our wider plans to tackle the problem of empty and poorly managed properties in Liverpool.

“We hope this new incentive will prove to be popular with landlords, who will have increased profile for their properties, and with local people, who will have a wider selection of accommodation to choose from when using the Property Pool service.”

Properties are advertised on Property Pool Plus every week, with applicants notified what ‘priority banding’ they are in, based on the urgency of their need to move from their current property. Applicants are invited to make a bid for their chosen property and the system puts them into priority order.

People can access Property Pool Plus in a number of ways, including the website www.propertypoolplus.org.uk, or by visiting a local housing office or One Stop Shop. They can also submit a bid for a property by calling the 24 hour automated number (0300 777 3022), by using the texting service (07537 402 602), or through their TV (Virgin Media and Sky customers).

Private landlords who wish to advertise on the system will be asked to ensure their property meets the Council’s Landlord Accreditation Standards. All properties will be inspected before being advertised.

Gas Safety and Electrical Installation Reports and Energy Performance certificate relating to the vacant property must also be provided.

Liverpool’s 10 Point Pledge is an important part of the city’s three-year ‘Bringing Empty Homes Back Into Use’ programme, which aims to tackle void properties across Liverpool, deal with problem landlords and improve the standard of the city’s rented accommodation.

The pledge includes:

• The adoption of a Liverpool Standard for private rented housing which will set out the minimum standards expected of landlords.
• A free, voluntary register for landlords to encourage better communications with the council.
• A citywide landlord accreditation scheme, and ‘Scores on the Doors’ service which recognise good landlords.
• Incentives for landlords who manage their properties well, including access to renewal funding.
• A dedicated website for landlords and tenants and confidential freephone line where people can report unregistered or poor quality landlords.
• A Landlords Advisory Group comprised of landlords and also lettings and managing agents
• A Rogue Landlords Hit Squad, which will seek out and investigate poor landlords and take appropriate action.