Liverpool City Council (LCC) has issued only 2% of its city-wide landlord licensing applications since the launch of its new licensing scheme in April 2015.
The controversial scheme which affects all private rented sector (PRS) landlords in the city is well behind schedule according to information released by the Council following a Freedom of Information request from the National Landlords Association (NLA).
By comparison, the London Borough of Newham processed 74% of their applications over the same time period.
Although Newham’s scheme too was controversial because of its blanket coverage of the borough, the Newham licensing scheme has resulted in more than 600 prosecutions, over 500 arrests, more than 100 rent repayment orders and 26 banning orders since launching in January 2013.
As news of Liverpool Council’s embarrassing record comes to light, the Council recently announced co-regulation partners to help administer the scheme. The idea behind Liverpool’s scheme, announced last year with a full fanfare of publicity, is to ensure a high level of quality assurance and proper management practice among landlords in the city.
In order to be granted licences, landlords have to declare any previous convictions and their properties must meet fire, electric and gas safety standards and be in a good state of repair.
The licence costs £400 for a first property and £350 for every additional property, but landlords who are members of the city’s accreditation scheme CLASS, or members of the Council’s co-regulation partner organisations, receive a 50% discount for licensing.
The FOl information obtained by the NLA revealed that so far there have been 39,100 licence applications and just 648 licences issued.
“These findings show that Liverpool City Council can’t cope with this scheme, which is precisely what we said would happen when they proposed it almost two years ago,” said NLA Chairman Carolyn Uphill. “If the Council can’t process applications or inspect properties, then how can it improve property standards for tenants? At this rate, it will take 13 years to inspect the City’s private rented housing, and 38 years to license them all, so the scheme’s co-regulation partners have got their work cut out.”