Liverpool Council would take almost 150 years to process all its selective licensing applications at the current rate, according to shocking new data, raising questions about its potential to address poor quality housing.
Housing bosses told the Liverpool Landlord Forum that since the scheme went live on 1st April, it has only granted 104 licences despite receiving about 31,000 applications, meaning that it would take the local authority 148 years to process them all at the current run rate, says the NRLA.
According to Freedom of Information data, between 2018/19 and 2020/21, out of 103 civil penalties issued to Liverpool's private landlords, 89 of them were for offences related to the previous selective licensing scheme.
No penalties were issued for failing to comply with a property improvement notice, a banning order or a notice that a property was overcrowded. Only two penalties were issued for breaches of management regulations in shared housing.
This suggests that the council's civil penalty strategy has served only to tackle administrative issues such as the failure to hold a licence rather than improving property conditions themselves, says NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle (pictured).
He adds: 'If Liverpool Council really believes licensing is so key to ensuring properties are safe, it begs the question why it takes so long to process applications for them.
"At a time when the condition of housing is under such scrutiny, the council is spending too much time administering a licensing scheme and not enough time taking enforcement action to tackle poor quality housing.
'Rather than penalising good landlords with a blanket policy, the council should use the range of data already available to them to find and root out the minority of landlords who fail to provide safe housing.'�