Liverpool launches citywide landlord licensing

From 1 April it will be a legal requirement for all private residential landlords in the city to have a five-year licence for each of their rented properties.

Up to 50,000 properties will be covered by the mandatory scheme.

Landlords need to go online and complete the first part of the application process at www.liverpool.gov.uk/landlordlicensing before 1 April, including their contact details and the properties they intend to licence.

The licence fee will cost £400 for each property and landlords with more than one property will pay £350 for each additional home.

Members of an accredited or co-regulation scheme approved by the council such as CLASS will pay £200 for each property to recognise that they are already a good landlord.

Following feedback from landlord representatives, payments will be staggered. Landlords will have to pay £100 per property at the second stage of registration at the beginning of April 2015. They will then have until the end of the year to pay the remaining balance.

The council will need to determine that the proposed licence holder is a "fit and proper" person to manage their properties including having regard, amongst other things, to any convictions for dishonesty, violence or drugs or contraventions of housing or landlord/tenant laws.

Landlords will have to meet a variety of conditions around fire, electric and gas safety; rectifying disrepair issues; tackling pest infestations; keeping the exterior in a good state of repair and dealing with complaints about anti-social behaviour caused by tenants.

Cllr Ann O'Byrne, assistant Mayor and cabinet member for housing, said: "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."

The council said that the fees will only be used for legitimate costs incurred such as compliance checks to make sure landlords are meeting the conditions of the licence.

Your Comments

Am I misunderstanding this – or are the Council going to charge Landlords for them providing something which they already have a legal duty to have in place such as gas certs, electrical safety certs. If I were a landlord it would make me wonder what I was getting for my £400 (nothing springs to mind). There are already legal guidelines in place for this. Money for old rope springs to mind! Another way of desperately trying to claw money in without providing a service! Shocking! And are LCC going to check all the information provided – or just take the money????

By Confused

Will this new scheme apply to Council and Social Housing properties because some of their housing stock is atrocious?

By Angela Smith

I as landlord have already passed on these fees to tenant they are paying over twelve months. those that do not pay will be put on section 21 eviction notice. I would rather leave properties empty than let Anderson and obyrne steal from me.

By Anonymous

There are too many bad landlords out there (see the ‘beds in sheds’ epidemic in Newham) so anything which brings them under control is to be welcomed. Landlords need to remember that they are responsible for someone’s home not just a cash factory.

By LI

I agree that there are too many bad landlords out there but don’t think this is the answer as Liverpool city Council wont be doing anything with this they will be just taking the cash!

By A Nan

Anything that provides peace of mind and reassurance that tenants’ homes will meet some minimum standards has got to be welcomed. If imagine the money will be used to carry out inspections and make prosecutions. There are too many landlords out there who couldn’t care less about the welfare of their tenants.

By Anon

What a short sighted idea – kills residential investment into the city, just as things start to look up. Joe Anderson – what a joke.

By Astonished

Absolute nonsense Astonished. Decent landlords should welcome this scheme as it will help drive up the reputation of an industry that has a very low standing in the eyes of the public. There are simply far too many private landlords who exploit their tenants with substandard accommodation and dreadful service. This will hopefully help drive out the cowboy operators and encourage investment from responsible owners who are interested in more than making a quick buck.

By Anon

I’m already providing all of these things while I rent my apartment out at a loss every month because I can’t sell the damn thing and I had to leave the city to find work. Now I have to give Liverpool council four hundred pounds with nothing in return? This is simple extortion and only the landlords that are already behaving responsibly will be chased to pay it, the bad landlords will just add this to the list of laws they ignore.

By A responsible landlord

Not only should private landlords be much better regulated but we should look at stripping them of all the unfair subsidies they receive such as mortgage interest tax relief that are not available to potential owner occupiers http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2513229/Buy-let-landlords-profits-boosted-5bn-year-tax-breaks.html . Banks already have much less stringent terms for mortgages for landlords than for owner occupiers. It’s time we reversed the incentives that sees homes treated as investments rather than a place to live and settle down which frankly encourages the unprofessional casual landlord seeking an easy profit.

By Anon

Some of the comments above are either ill informed or put out of pure spite and envy. Most Landlords are decent, honest and provide clean and modern housing. Many younger people are given the opportunity to live in a house or flat, that they could not afford to buy. Most of the new housing would not be built because people cannot afford the mortgage, so the landlord is taking the risks to buy a place and then rent it out to people who for some reason cannot buy. This is purely a cash cow scheme by the council to raise money for their failures in budgetary control. Maybe all the Landlords in Liverpool should get together and decide who to vote for or not vote for in the next council elections. Might be interesting?

By Paul B

"younger people are given the opportunity to live in a house or flat, that they could not afford to buy" OPPORTUNITY? To have basic shelter? Maybe they can’t buy because greedy BTL landlords are pushing up the prices too. Owning property should not be a license to extort money from people that need housing.

By Jonty

If there weren’t a problem of substandard poorly managed private rented housing there wouldn’t be a need for mandatory licensing. It’s a simple as that. Moreover the council wouldn’t be able to introduce a scheme if they didn’t have sufficient evidence that there was an issue. So I have zero sympathy for those that bleat about the relatively minor cost particularly when you consider the considerable – and in my view unjustified – subsidies they receive from the state, subsidies that can be seen as analogous to in-work benefit payments. In fact I would go so far to apply the inflammatory term ‘benefit scrounger’ to those landlords who have are happy to take all these perks yet still fail to provide a decent, well maintained, well managed home. If this scheme encourages more responsible behaviour from the industry then it will have been well worthwhile.

By Anon

Yes the opportunity to live in a brand new house, that they cannot afford too at present this also applies to other age groups and at a reasonable rent. No one has a right to a place, ask the council for one,they where taken off them because of late repairs using housing funds for other budgets. Most modern day Landlords have happened by different circumstance, moving jobs,family changes,no pensions,savings etc. So it is unfair to lump them all together as bad or greedy. In fact the council should persue the bad ones, but unfortunately they don’t, as usual they use a hammer to crack a nut, once again it’s a cash cow for them, 50,000 houses by on average £400.00 =£20M. Also remember, Landlords suffer too, and when I use the term Landords often it’s an individual who’s been left in this position and if they use a creditable agency to rent the place out and make all the repairs and checks and keep the place in good order, then find that the renter, has not paid the rent and trashed the place but can’t get rid of them till the lease has expired etc, in the meantime the mortgage needs paying and no rent comes in it works both ways. Anyway, some of you will have your views for whatever reason, but Good Landlords need protection too!

By Paul B

To the previous poster – your "Cash Cow" comment doesn’t take into account the cost to LCC of administering the scheme. Very likely the net revenue will be marginal. £400 isn’t a huge chunk out of the average landlord’s annual profit, IMHO.

By scouseboi

Most single landlords do not make a profit, they just cover their costs if that. The only way for anybody to judge this or make comments is for them to experience the situation themselves as a landlord, for at least 10 years, the Good, the bad and the ugly side of renting out a property, then see if their opinion changes on the matter.

By Paul B

Landlords do not need protecting any more than they already are. If you don’t need your property, sell it.

By Jonty

If landlords aren’t make a profit then they overpaid for the property or did scant research into the market. A licensing scheme certainly isn’t going to harm their prospects given it should improve the reputation and demand for private rented accommodation. Long term the landlord will benefit from a barely taxed windfall due to capital appreciation anyway.

By Anon

This goes up there with the sale of Sefton Park Meadows as just another shameless and futile money making scheme by the failed citizens who have been charged with running this proud city. I would like to know what my very happy and valued tenant and I will be getting for my £400? I suspect absolutely nothing as this scheme offers zero for responsible and honest landlords and tenants. Do they really think that the rogues they are planning to control will register for this scheme. They will hide and swerve the charge. Wake up LCC!

By Council Victim

How legal is this? Tenent pay their poll tax. This is just a way for the council to make more money.If they are allowed to get away with this then they will continue to increase this year in and year out. It should not be allowed.

By Anonymous

This means rents will have to go up at an astronomical rate when the council take over. Bang gos cheap rents to people.

By pod1

If landlords took their responsibilities seriously and managed their properties properly schemes like this wouldn’t be needed. The council has to demonstrate evidence of need to introduce a charging scheme.

By House

All this will do is put rents up unfairly for those who are not able to get on to the housing ladder. I rent myself and it is already difficult to find somewhere at an affordable price already. I currently rent a property which is direct through the landlord, when there are any problems I very rarely get a response from the landlord to get these resolved. Maybe instead of this licensing, all landlords should be made go through an agent, that way there is a third party involved that can act a mediator between both parties but also check that the properties are suitable and up to current legislation too. This way also ensures the landlord of decent tenants like myself who want to keep a nice home and not let their properties fall into disrepair.

By TheGuinnessGirl

TheGuinnessGirl, the law is already in place and your rented property should already have a license, paid for by the landlord. In terms of the cost it’s a multi year license costing just a few hundred pounds, if the landlord is in an approved scheme, and five hundred (so a hundred a year) if not. Since the license is there to regulate and drive up standards, and all properties have to be licensed, you should firstly check that has been done for your property, and report it to the council if not, and secondly check out the rights that this law gives you in relation to the service and standards you are entitled to receive!

By Mike

Mike – on the Wirral they have Selective Licencing which does not cover New Brighton but only the more deprived areas such as Birkenhead and Secombe

By TheGuinnessGirl

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