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.