Liverpool is to introduce compulsory landlord licencing from 1st April.
All private residential landlords in Liverpool have been given until April 2015 to apply for a compulsory licence as part of Liverpool’s scheme which they say is meant to stamp out slum housing.
Although compulsory borough wide licensing has already been introduced in around 30 locations around the UK, Liverpool is the first major city to introduce the scheme. It will involve around 50,000 properties when it becomes a legal requirement from April 1 this year.
The licence fee has initially been set at £400 per property. Landlords with more than one property will pay £350 for each additional unit they own and rent out.
Members of an accredited or co-regulation scheme approved by the council such as CLASS*, Liverpool’s Accreditation Scheme for landlords, will pay £200 per property to recognise that they are already a good landlord.
Liverpool council’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, told the Liverpool Eco:
“Everyone knows someone who has a horror story to tell about a bad landlord. This scheme is about giving tenants some expectation of their rights, and the city council the power to tackle breaches.
“Liverpool has a growing number of privately rented properties and the sector is vital in meeting the city’s housing needs, so it is important that what is on offer is of high quality.
“Although many landlords operate professionally, we are concerned about a number of landlords who rent properties which fail to meet satisfactory standards of tenancy and property management.
“This has a negative impact on the health and welfare of local communities and on a housing market that is already vulnerable in terms of vacant properties, low house prices and depressed rental values.
“Poorly managed properties also lead to problems such as anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping, and are a blight on the city’s neighbourhoods.”
According to the Liverpool Eco landlords’ payments will be staggered, with £100 per property due at the second stage of registration at the beginning of April. They will then have until the year end to pay off the balance.
As part of the process the city council will determine if the proposed licence holder is a ‘fit and proper’ person to manage their own properties. The assessment process for this will include checking for convictions for dishonesty, violence or drugs or contraventions of housing or landlord/tenant laws.
Landlords’ accommodation will have to meet a safety standards set out in current legislation (HHSRS) including such things as fire, electric and gas safety; disrepair issues; pest infestations; the exterior condition of the property and how they deal with complaints about anti-social behaviour caused by their own tenants.
Cllr O’Byrne told the Liverpool Eco:
“Responsible landlords who provide quality accommodation for tenants have absolutely nothing to fear and that is why we have put in place substantial discounts for those who are already members of accredited schemes, which in some cases means it will cost around 75 pence per property per week.”
As part of the scheme local authorities are only allowed to use the money collected for legitimate costs incurred in the running of the scheme, such as inspection checks to make sure landlords are meeting the conditions of the licence.
Liverpool landlords can go online and complete the first part of the application process at: