Liverpool City Council has partnered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) for its landlord licensing scheme.
Last year, the council introduced the country’s first city-wide licensing scheme for rental properties. However, its costs have been criticised for being too high.
As councils are not allowed make profits from licensing schemes, many have questioned why Liverpool’s scheme is so expensive.
The new agreement with the three industry organisations means that landlords belonging to any of these groups will receive a 50% discount on licensing fees, taking the charge to £200 per property, rather than the standard rate of £400 for the first property and £350 for each subsequent home.
Liverpool City Council Partners with ARLA, NALS and the RLA
Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet Member for Housing at Liverpool City Council, explains the need for the partnerships: “When we launched the scheme, we were clear that we wanted to work with the private rented sector to help them comply with the scheme and find ways of giving discounts to those that are committed to meeting the standards.
“I am delighted that ARLA, NALS and the RLA have all come on board. It is a win-win for everyone, because their members benefit from a reduced fee and we are able to target our resources at those landlords who we know aren’t meeting the standards.
“This is all part of our drive to improve the quality of housing in the city and make sure that our residents have access to good quality accommodation.”1
The Managing Director of ARLA, David Cox, comments on the agreement: “We are really pleased to become a co-regulator for the Liverpool selective licensing scheme.
“We are glad Liverpool City Council has seen the importance of distinguishing between the professional market and those who the scheme is designed to remove from Liverpool’s rental market.
“ARLA welcomes this initiative and hopefully, by giving landlords who use our members a 50% discount on licensing fees, it will encourage more landlords to use licensed letting agents.”1
Isobel Thomson, the Chief Executive of NALS, adds: “We are delighted to be part of a co-regulatory partnership with Liverpool City Council for their selective licensing scheme. We welcome the recognition they have given to NALS agents and the strict criteria they meet in relation to customer service and consumer protection.
“By offering a discounted licensing fee for those agents who come under a co-regulatory partnership, it is a clear indicator to landlords of which agents they should be using.”1
And the Chief Executive of the RLA, Andrew Goodacre, also says: “The RLA is the only landlord association approved to offer a co-regulation alternative to those landlords in Liverpool who wish to continue to manage their portfolio themselves.
“There are a growing number of landlords who are choosing to manage their properties directly, and our scheme is an ideal vehicle for self-regulation whilst still providing significant savings on the license fees.”1
Around 8,500 landlords, owning about 39,500 properties, have already started the application process, which came into effect in April last year.
The council has also begun issuing the first set of licenses.