Liverpool City Council is set to introduce a licensing scheme for the cityâ€™s 50,000 private rented properties â€“ in a bid to drive up the quality of housing in the sector. The notion was approved last week by the Cabinet and should come into force next year.
It follows a three month consultation over the proposal, and would mean that all landlords who privately rent properties in the city would require a licence for each of their rented properties.
The city council will need to determine that the proposed licence holder is a â€˜fit and properâ€™ 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; rectify disrepair issues; tackle pest infestations; keep the exterior in a good state of repair and deal with complaints about anti-social behaviour caused by tenants.
Responsible landlords and agents who provide quality accommodation for tenants have absolutely nothing to fear from this scheme, and the council are exploring ways of reducing the licence fee wherever possible for good, compliant landlords
During the consultation, more than 2,000 responses were received from landlords, tenants, residents and stakeholders.
Residents who responded were generally in favour of the proposals â€“ with 89 percent who were contacted in a telephone survey giving it the thumbs up, while 59 percent of residents who completed an online questionnaire were supportive.
Two thirds of the other organisations consulted also indicated their support.
People who were broadly supportive said it would make it easier to identify absentee landlords and give tenants better consumer protection.
However, there was opposition from letting agents, landlords and landlordsâ€™ forums for the scheme, with more than 80 percent against it.
No final decision has been made about the cost to landlords, although a figure of less than Â£2 per week per property has been suggested. This would be tax deductible consideration will be given to reduced fees if landlords are members of an accreditation scheme or have multiple properties.
The fees will only be used for legitimate costs incurred by the council such as compliance checks to make sure landlords are meeting the conditions of the licen