Liverpool pushes for new landlord licensing scheme after positive evaluation

Liverpool City Council is pushing for a new landlord licensing scheme after a council evaluation revealed the success of its previous five-year citywide scheme.

The council’s Housing Select Committee will consider the report at its meeting tonight (Wednesday 19 August), which comes as the local authority consults on a successor scheme which would cover 80% of the city’s private rented sector.

Analysis conducted by the council found that its previous landlord licensing scheme between 2015 and 2020, which the government declined to extend, resolved almost 96% of the 24,000 complaints it received.

The council’s report highlights the need to tackle unsafe homes in Liverpool as it found that 65% of properties inspected during the scheme’s five-year run were not fully compliant on the first visit.

Liverpool City Council’s Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for housing, Cllr 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 – and this report is irrefutable proof.

“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.”

The council’s analysis of the scheme found that over 34,000 inspections of licensed properties were completed from April 2015 to March 2020, identified 3,375 cases of the most serious hazards to residents’ health and wellbeing such as disrepairs and excess cold.

The scheme led to over 2,500 legal notices being issued while 300 landlords were successfully prosecuted for failing to protect their tenants.

The report also highlights the scheme’s success in tackling antisocial behaviour as 98% of the antisocial behaviour complaints received through the scheme were resolved.

Cllr Hinnigan added: “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 such as excess cold.

“This life-saving scheme ensures landlords meet their obligations and put in smoke detectors and fire doors as required by law.

“It is vital that we have a new landlord licensing scheme and we want as many people as possible to give us feedback on our current consultation proposal and have their say.”

The council is currently consulting on its preferred successor scheme, which would be based on poor property conditions and would target the 16 wards in Liverpool where at least one in five homes is owned by a private landlord. The initiative would cover around 45,000 of the 55,000 properties covered by the original scheme.

The council is also consulting on two alternative schemes covering slightly fewer wards, based on low housing demand and deprivation respectively.

The current consultation will run until October with the council set to submit a scheme to government for ministerial consideration this December.

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