Mayor Joe Anderson says the scheme has provided vital protection for tenants across the city with 2,000 legal notices and 154 prosecutions since April 2015. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Council has issues more than 2,000 legal notices and prosecuted 154 rogue residential landlords since introducing its landlord licensing scheme in 2015.
Mayor Joe Anderson says the scheme has provided vital protection for tenants across the city and he is now launching a public consultation with a view to extending it for another five years.
More than 48,500 licences have been granted to the owners of privately rented properties since April 2015, and the Mayor says it has delivered “huge benefits” for tenants and people living in the neighbourhood in driving up standards of properties.
Almost 20,000 compliance checks have been carried out, with 70% of properties inspected having issues that needed tackling such as health and safety hazards including electrical and heating problems. The council has issued over 2,000 legal notices, 89 fixed penalty notices and successfully prosecuted 154 landlords.
In addition, 11 cases have been brought for health and safety and action taken against 29 unlicensed HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation). Nationally, figures show that Liverpool alone is responsible for 389% of the 460% national rise in prosecutions between 2012 and 2018.
Other authorities in Merseyside have also introduced their own scheme, including Wirral and Sefton. Wirral Council is to extend its licensing scheme to new areas in the next few weeks.
In Liverpool, targeted enforcement has been carried out in around a dozen areas of the city, with officers from the landlord licensing team working alongside street scene staff, Merseyside Police, Mersey Fire and Rescue Service and other partners to identify unlicensed properties and associated issues such as disrepair and anti-social behaviour.
The next is taking place on Lodge Lane in Toxteth on Wednesday, February 6, when 65 properties will be inspected.
Now, a report to Cabinet on Friday, February 8, is recommending the council start consultation on whether to continue the scheme from 2020-2025. Two professional landlord bodies, the National Approved Letting Scheme and ARLA Propertymark, are backing the move.
If approved, a further report will come back later this year at which point the council will have to decide the size and scope of a further scheme. If it covers more than 20% of the city it will have to be approved by the Secretary of State subject to the council having sufficient evidence that it is required.
Mayor Anderson said: “Landlord Licensing has given us a foot in the door at private rented properties across the city to make sure that they are up to standard and, if not, take action to make sure they are.
“Our team have found shocking examples of landlords happy to take rent off their tenants despite providing them with substandard accommodation, often with issues around heating, damp and poor electrics.
We’ve made huge strides in less than four years and led the way nationally in tackling poor housing conditions, but we believe we need to continue with the scheme beyond 2020 to continue making a difference.”