Liverpool City Council saw its original landlord licensing scheme scrapped by the Government in January but is now consulting with the public on a new crackdown on rogue operators. Tony McDonough reports
A three-month public consultation begins today on Liverpool City Council’s plan to revive its residential landlord licensing scheme.
In January, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick turned down an application to keep the five-year-old citywide scheme going from April 2020, claiming the council did not provide robust evidence to show low housing demand across the city.
In response, Liverpool City Council claimed its scheme had carried out more than 37,000 compliance actions, issued more than 2,500 legal and fixed penalty notices and prosecuted almost 250 landlords during the five years.
Last month the council said it was looking to revive the scheme that would cover 80% of privately rented properties in Liverpool. It would target the 16 wards in the city where at least one in five homes is owned by a private landlord.
It would mean that around 45,000 of the 55,000 properties in the original scheme would still be covered by the initiative, giving the council additional powers to drive up standards and keep vulnerable tenants safe.
The wards included would be: Central, Riverside, Greenbank, Kensington, Picton, Tuebrook & Stoneycroft, County, Anfield, St Michael’s, Princes Park, Kirkdale, Old Swan, Warbreck, Wavertree, Fazakerley and Everton.
The council is also consulting on two alternatives, which would include slightly fewer wards. One, based on low housing demand, would cover all of those in the preferred option, apart from Greenbank, St Michael’s and Wavertree. The other, based on deprivation, would include all of those in the preferred option, apart from Central and Wavertree.
Whichever scheme is taken forward, the council would still investigate issues with properties outside of the designated landlord licensing area if it receives complaints and referrals.
The three month consultation will run until October with a submission made to the Government for ministerial consideration in December 2020. Click here for more information.
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Lynnie Hinnigan, said: “All the evidence over the last five years shows landlord licensing made a massive difference to the lives of our most vulnerable residents.
“Rogue landlords were compelled to take action to improve electrical and fire safety standards, as well as dealing with issues such as damp and anti-social behaviour. What we are looking at is introducing one of the largest schemes in the country covering the vast majority of properties that were under the original programme.”