Liverpool Council may introduce a licensing scheme for the city’s private landlords in a bid to drive up standards. ...

Councillors have approved a consultation on plans to introduce a citywide compulsory licensing scheme later this year. It would mean all property owners who rent out their properties would need to apply for a licence, agreeing to comply with a minimum set of standards. A breach of the conditions could lead to a fine, or even the revocation of the licence.

Liverpool has more than 50,000 rented properties.

The proposals form part of the council’s three-year ‘bringing empty homes back into use’ programme, which aims to tackle void properties across Liverpool, deal with problem landlords and improve the standard of the city’s rented accommodation.

Ann O’Byrne, cabinet member for housing at Liverpool Council, said: ‘The proposed licensing scheme would recognise the majority of good landlords who manage their properties properly, while enabling us to deal with the minority who choose not to engage with us, and whose letting and management practices are poor.

‘Licensing would create a minimum standard for the private rented sector, with landlords needing to show that they have adequate systems in place for their tenants – for example, to report repairs and defects. It would also enable tenants to be confident in their choice to rent, and neighbours to be confident in landlords’ ability to effectively manage their properties.’

The city already runs a licensing scheme for 1,250 houses in multiple occupation.

Formal consultation on the city council’s new plans will begin this month and will last for 12 weeks.

Newham Council recently became first local authority to announce mandatory licensing for private rented properties across the entire borough. Its scheme began earlier this week.

[Rhiannon Bury,, 4 January 2013]