The city council hopes to launch a new licensing scheme after the Government decided not to renew the previous initiative and has published a report it says provides “irrefutable proof” of the current scheme’s success.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for housing and deputy mayor of the city, Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan, said: “Evidence over the last five years shows that landlord licensing [across the city] made a massive difference to the lives of our most vulnerable residents and this report is irrefutable proof.”
Hinnigan described the scheme as “life-saving” as it ensured landlords met obligations regarding electrical and fire safety.
“Using our powers under the licensing scheme to proactively address poor management of properties meant that we tackled head-on the dangerous living conditions that contribute to poor health,” she said.
Liverpool’s landlord licensing scheme, which came into force in 2015, required landlords that rent out their properties to comply with certain criteria, protecting tenants.
The Government’s decision on whether or not to renew the scheme for another five years until 2025 hinged on whether it should be selective in terms of eligible properties, or across the whole city.
Critics of landlord licences, introduced by many councils across the country, say they are a money-making venture and effectively a tax on the private rented market.
Ministers decided not to renew the initiative, saying the evidence given by Liverpool for a city-wide scheme was not robust enough – a decision branded as a “disgrace” by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson.
The report into Liverpool’s landlord licensing proposals, due to be considered by the council’s housing select committee later today, states that, since its introduction, the current scheme has been successful in holding landlords to account.
A total of 96% of the 24,000 complaints made against landlords over a five-year period were resolved, according to the report.
Over the last five years the landlord license scheme has carried out more than 34,000 inspections and identified 3,375 “serious hazards”.
Additional successes of the system include fining a landlord £15,000 for renting out an unlicensed “fire trap” property in Toxteth and convicting another landlord who was sentenced to three months in prison for wrongfully trying to evict an 80-year-old tenant, according to the council.
Consultation is underway on a replacement scheme that would cover 80% of the properties that were covered in the first scheme.
A total of 45,000 properties, across 16 wards, would be protected under the proposed new scheme.