Two selective licencing schemes operated by Wirral Council in and around Birkenhead are to be renewed with a further two schemes about to be launched following a consultation.
The additional areas added by the council mean an almost doubling of the number of streets in the area where landlords will have to licence their rented properties, a council meeting at its town hall (pictured) has decided.
Wirral’s plans, which are now open for consultation, are part of a growing trend for councils to extend existing selective licencing schemes on renewal at the end of their five-year period. This includes in neighbouring Liverpool, where a huge scheme covering some 45,000 properties began last year.
But the council is unusual because it is promising to charge a lower licencing fee to landlords for the enlarged set of schemes.
A council spokesperson tells LandlordZONE that: “The exact fee hasn’t been determined yet but the [consultation] information says [that] the council proposes to recover some costs by charging a licensing fee.
“The cost for a licence has reduced since the initial scheme and the council will continue to work hard to streamline costs for future designations and keep the fee as low as possible.”
Selective licencing began in the area during 2015 but the council has been slowly expanding coverage since to include some 3,500 licences.
The areas within the existing schemes to be renewed are Bidstone & St James West and Birkenhead West while the new areas cover Egremont North and Secombe St Paul’s.
Chair of Economy, Regeneration and Housing Committee, Cllr Tony Jones (pictured), said: “Selective Licensing is about making sure people live in decent homes.
"We know that most landlords take their responsibilities seriously, but some others profit from renting out homes which are unacceptable and not fit for purpose – and they are the ones we are determined to target.
“The use of Selective Licensing will help us in tackling rogue landlords and protecting tenants in Wirral.”
Landlords affected by the renewal and extension plans in the area can find out more information on the council's consultation website.