Landlords and letting agents in Liverpool have been getting information and advice to help raise standards in the private rented sector.
The City Council’s CLASS – Citywide Landlord Accreditation Safety Scheme – team has run the first in a programme of development courses for landlords and agents.
It was held in conjunction with the North West Property Owners Association and presentations were given on:
• The law of agency
• Fire safety in Houses in Multiple Occupation ( HMO’s)
• HMO and management regulations
• Credit unions – how they can help a landlord and tenant.
The course, which was oversubscribed, was attended by 28 landlords and agents, all of whom were presented with a certificate and the current Landlord Handbook.
“The feedback we have received was very positive and there is clearly a lot of interest from landlords in getting advice and support, “said Councillor Ann O’Byrne, cabinet member for housing.
“We want to work with landlords and help drive up standards in this sector and those who have joined CLASS will get the information they need to help them manage their properties to a high standard.
“The council has agreed a 10 point pledge to encourage good landlords and these courses are a way in which we can help landlords to improve standards.”
Landlords and letting agents can join CLASS for free and benefits include : discounts on mandatory HMO licence fees, free promotion on the council’s website and access to advertise properties on Propertypool Plus. For more information call 0151 233 8266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The council’s 10 point pledge on landlords is:
• The adoption of a Liverpool Standard for private rented housing in the city which will include minimum standards based on the Decent Homes Standard and also best practice in the management of tenancies.
• A voluntary registration scheme for landlords.
• A re-launch of the Landlord Accreditation scheme, publicising the benefits of the scheme and targeted at particular sectors of the private rented sector such as new landlords. Greater public access to, and promotion of the list of accredited landlords highlighting their ‘beacon’ status will be provided.
• Incentives for good landlords will be available for those achieving the required standard. These could include access to funding available in renewal areas and for bringing empty homes back into use; access to Propertypool Plus for advertising vacant properties and availability of the tenancy bond scheme.
• A ‘Scores on the Doors’ service will be developed in which prospective tenants can enquire whether landlords are registered, accredited, licensed (if an HMO) or a member of a recognised landlords organization. This could be developed further to include a ‘rate your landlord’ facility where current and former tenants can post comments about the quality of accommodation and service provided by their landlord.
• A confidential freephone line where people can report unregistered or poor quality landlords. This would trigger an investigation from the enforcement team.
• Dedicated web pages for Liverpool landlords will be established to publicise the Liverpool Standard, the accreditation scheme and general news items of interest to landlords.
• A Landlords Advisory Group comprised of landlords and also lettings and managing agents will be formed.
• A Rogue Landlords Hit Squad will seek out and investigate poor landlords and take appropriate action.
• A feasibility study and consultation will be undertaken on a Citywide Selective Licensing Scheme.