Private sector tenants can now search online to see if their landlord has applied for their property to be part of the city’s Landlord Licensing scheme.
The mandatory initiative – the first of its type in a big city – 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.
More than 8,000 landlords responsible for more than 36,500 properties have so far started the application process for the scheme, which came into effect in April 2015.
Interested parties such as freeholders, landlords and managing agents are now being issued with notices of intention to grant a licence following the processing of their applications.
More than 500 landlords who have not yet started the application process despite reminders have come to the council’s attention, and could face additional charges and potential prosecution if they do not apply.
Tenants can now access the database at www.liverpool.gov.uk/landlordlicensing and type in their address to see if their landlord has started the application process – and let the council know if it is not on the database.
Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing, said: “This is a major project which is part of our determination to drive up standards in the private rented sector and improve the quality of life for tenants.
“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.
“We have had a very good response from private landlords, and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for doing so. To those who have not, our message to them is that they need to do so as soon as possible or face enforcement action.
“Already a knock-on effect of the scheme has been a huge increase in applications for membership of our accredited landlord scheme, CLASS, resulting in thousands of properties being checked for electrical safety, improving standards in the sector.
“This scheme is about giving tenants some expectation of their rights, and the city council the power to tackle breaches.
“Over the six months we will be intensifying our work on compliance to make sure standards are being met.”
Landlord licensing has the backing of campaign groups including Shelter and Generation Rent. ABOUT THE SCHEME
• The online application licence fee costs £400 per property and landlords with more than one property will pay £350 for each additional online application made
• 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
• 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 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