APPLICATIONS open on Friday 18 March for Liverpool City Council’s new Landlord Licensing scheme, which will cover around 80 per cent of privately rented properties when it begins in April.
The new scheme, which runs until April 2027, is based on poor property conditions, targeting the 16 wards in the city where at least one in five homes is owned by a private landlord.
Around 45,000 of the 55,000 properties in the original city-wide scheme – which ran from 2015-2020 – are covered, giving the council additional powers to drive up standards and keep vulnerable tenants safe, such as tackling fire and electrical safety hazards, excess cold and damp and prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour.
The wards included are: Central, Riverside, Greenbank, Kensington, Picton, Tuebrook & Stoneycroft, County, Anfield, St Michael’s, Princes Park, Kirkdale, Old Swan, Warbreck, Wavertree, Fazakerley and Everton.
Landlords signing up before the end of June 2022 will benefit from an early bird discount which will take the total cost of a five year licence down to £380 per property, rather than £550.
This discount will be extended to landlords who are new to the rental market if they apply for a licence before the property is tenanted, or for those who buy a property with a tenant in situ within 14 days of the completion of purchase.
A number of other discounts will also be in place:
- £50 – for each property with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C or above
- £50 – for each property licenced by the same licence holder in the same block of flats
- £30 – for each property if the licence holder has an active membership of a professional body related to housing
There will be no charge for landlords offering permanent accommodation to meet homelessness duties, providing the property meets licence standards.
Applications are made online and payment – which covers the five years of the scheme – is in two parts:
- The first payment is for the administration needed to process and issue licence applications, including checks to make sure a licence holder is fit and proper. Applicants will also need to attach supporting documents such as a valid gas safety certificate.
- The second payment will be requested once the licence has been deemed suitable to be granted and leads to checks for compliance and the enforcement of licence conditions.
A list of fees and charges is at https://liverpool.gov.uk/landlordlicensing and landlords can start the application process on this page from Friday 18 March.
Landlord Licensing is separate to HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupation) licensing, which is already mandatory and covers over 2,600 properties. The City Council will continue to provide a reactive service dealing with complaints and referrals covering all private rental properties.
BENEFITS OF LANDLORD LICENSING
An evaluation of the 2015-2020 city-wide licensing scheme found:
- Over 34,000 inspections of licensed properties had been completed, which identified 65 per cent of properties were not fully compliant on the first visit
- Identification of 4,350 cases of the most serious category 1 and 2 hazards including disrepair and excess cold affecting the health and wellbeing of residents
- Issuing of more than 2,500 legal notices, 169 formal cautions and 197 written warnings
- More than 300 successful landlord offence prosecutions and issuing of 87 civil penalties
Cabinet Member for Strategic Development and Housing, Councillor Sarah Doyle, said:
“The launch of our new Landlord Licensing scheme is a major step forward in giving us the tools to improve our neighbourhoods.
“Too many vulnerable people in our city are in poor housing conditions, paying rent to a landlord who doesn’t carry out essential maintenance to keep them warm and safe.
“The Landlord Licensing scheme gives us regulation of private rented houses, so that we can take action when concerns are raised.
“Under the previous scheme, council intervention forced bad landlords into taking action to improve their properties.
“Poor electrical and fire safety standards are a danger to life and damp and anti-social behaviour contribute to poor health and mental wellbeing.”