Liverpool City Council has launched a licensing scheme for private landlords.
The Labour council is now accepting applications from landlords in the private rental sector under the scheme, which will cover around 50,000 properties. From 1st April 2015, all private landlords in the city must apply for a five-year license per property. The licence will be applied under existing selective licensing legislation.
Before being offered a licence, landlords must have a fit and proper persons test, and declare any convictions relating to dishonesty, violence, drug-related offences, or breaches of tenancy law. Licensed landlords must then meet safety standards, and keep their rental homes in a good state of repair.
Liverpool Launches Landlord Licensing Scheme
Licenses will cost £400 for the first property, and £350 for every property after that. Properties owned by landlords belonging to a council-approved accreditation scheme will only cost £200.
Cabinet Member for Housing at Liverpool City Council, Ann O’Byrne, says: “We are concerned about a number of landlords who rent properties which fail to meet satisfactory standards of tenancy and property management.”1
The National Landlords Association (NLA), has responded by saying that the scheme, “will do little or nothing to hinder the actions of criminals.”1
Local Authority Policy Officer at the NLA, Gavin Dick, says: “However, the burden of the selective licensing scheme, which Liverpool City Council will be implementing, will be shouldered by reputable landlords who will feel compelled to comply with this heavy-handed regulation.”1
Liverpool is the first major northern city to apply a whole city private rental sector licensing scheme, however, some Labour-led London boroughs have done so too. Newham Council launched a citywide scheme in January 2013, and Barking and Dagenham Council did in September.
Waltham Forest Council is also proposing a scheme to be brought in from April.
Labour is planning for private landlords to be required to sign up to a national register, to make it easier for councils who want to introduce schemes to identify landlords of certain properties.
The party has vowed to remove obstacles that prevent councils from enforcing borough or citywide schemes.
At present, councils can only apply for selective licensing in areas where they can prove there is low demand or anti-social behaviour.