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Weekly Edition - Published  8 February 2015


Local News Report - Mobile Page

Are Liverpool's efforts to drive up standards for people rented accommodation "embarrassing?"

THE National Landlords Association (NLA) has claimed that Liverpool City Council's (LCC) the Citywide Landlord Licensing Scheme and it is an "embarrassing" mess. Yet Liverpool City Council say that the NLA itself is making the scheme difficult to implement. We would like your views on this Landlord Licensing Scheme... Please send them to:-

The Citywide Landlord Licensing Scheme is compulsory for all private landlords within the Liverpool City area, and was introduced back in April 2015. It requires all private landlords in the City to apply for a 5 year licence for each of their rented properties. The idea is to ensure a level of quality assurance and proper practice among Liverpool's Landlords and that they are "fit and proper" people. So before any Landlord is granted a licence, they must declare convictions for dishonesty, violence or drug related offences, or breaches of housing or landlord and tenant laws. On top of this all the properties must meet fire, electric and gas safety standards and be in a good state of repair, as well as them being able to deal effectively with any complaints about their tenants. On paper this sounds fantastic. More about it and how to apply can be found on the Liverpool Council's website.

In a press release sent to us from the NLA, they stated:- "Liverpool City Council has issued just 2%* of licensing applications (648 of 39,100) since they launched the Citywide Landlord Licensing Scheme, back in April 2016." According the NLA, this information was released to them by the Council, following a Freedom of Information request. As a result the NLA press statement then says:- "In comparison of Liverpool's efforts, the London Borough of Newham (LBN) processed 24% of their applications in the same time, and their licensing scheme has resulted in over 600 prosecutions, over 500 arrests, more than 100 rent repayment orders along with 26 banning orders since launching in January 2013. That's 20000 of 27000 of licence applications in the 1st 6 months and LBN have worked with the 7000 landlords, due to problems filling in the applications."

Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet for housing, added:- "The NLA has fought Landlord Licensing tooth and nail since day one and have conspired against us to make it as difficult as possible to introduce it and drive up standards for people living in private rented accommodation. We deliberately introduced a staged process for applications and payments because it was what landlord organisations asked us to do, and we listened to their feedback and acted. It is really disappointing that the NLA simply complain about the scheme rather than getting on board as a co-regulation partner and helping us drive up standards. It is costing their members a £200 discount on each property they own."

Carolyn Uphill, Chairman of the NLA, added:- "These findings show that Liverpool City Council can't cope with this scheme, which is precisely what we said would happen when they proposed it almost 2 years ago. Quite frankly it's embarrassing. If the Council can't process applications or inspect properties, then how can it improve property standards for tenants? At this rate, it will take 13 years to inspect the City's private rented housing, and 38 years to license them all, so the scheme's co-regulation partners have got their work cut out. The NLA has opposed this scheme from the very start. We do not regulate our members, so it would be inappropriate for us to play any part in a scheme that effectively polices landlords on the Council's be½."

A Liverpool City Council spokesman also commented:- "Following extensive consultation, Landlords and National Landlord Associations requested that the licensing process be staged over a period of time to assist landlords with preparing for licensing, to comply with the conditions and make sure they didn't have to pay too much money at once. So far, over 8,600 proposed licence holders who are responsible for over 41,000 properties have commenced the staged application process and we thank them for their co-operation. We've issued licenses to all of those applicants who have made a full and valid application. We are now starting compliance checks to ensure licence conditions are being met and management standards for tenants are being maintained. We have identified and received information about 1,200 unlicensed properties and over ½ of them have now started the application process with the remainder subject to ongoing investigation, enforcement action and possible prosecution. We have 3 organisations signed up to our co-regulation scheme and it is surprising that the NLA have refused to come on board, to the detriment of their members who would have been eligible to take advantage of the £200 per property discount."

So is the Central London based NLA's  views:- "to opposed this scheme from the very start" correct or could that be connected to the issue the NLA is commenting on? Is Liverpool Council view:- "NLA has fought" them proof of this? Also we spotted within the NLA's release an interesting comment:- "comes as the Council recently announced its co-regulation partners to administer the scheme." Then add:- "it would be inappropriate for us to play any part in a scheme that effectively polices landlords."

Please let us have your views. Are you 1 of the NLA's "almost 65,000 landlords", of which the NLA says:- "over 30,000 are paying members" that the NLA represent? Are you a full or part time landlord, with large property portfolios, or do you just have a single letting that is affected by the Landlord Licensing Scheme, as we would love to hear your views, even if you're not a member of the NLA. Are you a tenant who is affected by the Landlord Licensing Scheme...?   

Of course, also needed is a clarification of the benefits and draw backs for the Landlords because if this lacks transparent equality, with protection for the Landlords from irresponsible or down right malicious tenants or any real, or perceived attack on landlords, the vast majority of whom are not latter day Rackmanns, or any undue financial pressures from without, society may see private cheaper rental provision drop to the detriment of many: the law of unintended consequences!  If you have any comments about the Landlord Licensing Scheme, please do send them to us at:-

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Southport Reporter (R) Bourder




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