Liverpool City Council’s Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne has launched the UK’s first city-wide Landlord Licensing scheme.
Cllr O’Byrne said: “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 we work with tenants, landlords and property management firms to offer homes of the highest quality.
“Although many landlords operate very professionally, we are concerned about landlords who rent properties which fail to meet satisfactory standards – having a negative impact on the health and welfare of local communities.”
The Landlord Licensing scheme – also known as Selective Licensing – is designed to ensure that proposed licence holders will be a ‘fit and proper’ person to manage their properties including background checks, amongst other things, to identify 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; fixing disrepair; tackling pest infestations; keeping the exterior in a good state of repair and dealing with complaints about nuisance caused by tenants. Poorly managed properties lead to problems such as anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping, and are a blight on the city’s neighbourhoods.” said Cllr. O’Byrne.
Alex Hilton, Director of Generation Rent which campaigns for professionally managed, secure, decent and affordable private rented homes in sustainable communities, said: “Just like a week-old sandwich, bad housing can put people’s health at risk. For the same reason sandwich shops are regulated, renters shouldn’t have to put up with a free-for-all in the housing market where anyone can let out a grotty flat.
“This landlord licensing scheme will stop criminals exploiting tenants and help serious landlords bring their standards up, with huge benefit to the city’s renters.”
The recent boom in buy-to-let properties means the city is seeing an increasing number of landlords from across the UK, attracted by the city’s affordable property prices and high demand for rentals.
“We welcome investments being made in property in the city, and responsible landlords who provide quality accommodation have nothing to fear, that is why we have put in place substantial discounts for those who are already members of accredited schemes’ said Cllr O’Byrne.
“There are also discounts for those with multiple properties, and of course all of the costs are tax deductible. We are also giving them until the end of the year to pay the total amount.”
VIDEO: Assistant Mayor Councillor Ann O’Byrne, at the launch
About the Scheme
The mandatory initiative requires all landlords in the city to have a five year licence for each of their rented properties.
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.
The licence fee will cost £400 per property and landlords with more than one property will pay £350 for each additional home.
Members of an accredited or co-regulation scheme approved by the council such as CLASS will pay £200 per property to recognise that they are already a good landlord.
Following feedback from landlord representatives, payments will be staggered. Landlords will have to pay £100 per property at second stage of registration commencing at the beginning of April 2015. They will then have until the end of the year to pay the remaining balance.
The fees will only be used for legitimate costs incurred by the council such as compliance checks to make sure landlords are meeting the conditions of the licence.