Default Category Rhianna Abrey 07/12/2022

Landlord licensing scheme a waste of time in Liverpool

Liverpool Council would take almost 150 years to process applications for its landlord licensing scheme according to new data.

The Council has hailed the importance of the scheme in addressing sub-standard housing across the city. But presenting figures to the Liverpool Landlord Forum, council representatives have said that since the Selective Licensing Scheme went live on 1st April, it has only granted 104 licences. This is despite an estimated 31,000 applications having been made. 

At its current rate, it would take the local authority 148 years to process all applications received so far.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) argues that this raises serious questions about the extent to which the scheme is needed to address poor quality housing.

According to Freedom of Information data previously obtained by the NRLA, between 2018/19 and 2020/21, out of 103 civil penalties issued to private landlords in Liverpool, 89 of them were for offences related to the previous selective licensing scheme. No penalties were issued for failing to comply with a property improvement notice, a banning order or a notice that a property was overcrowded. Only two penalties were issued for breaches of management regulations in shared housing.

This suggests that the Council’s civil penalty strategy has served only to tackle administrative issues such as the failure to hold a licence rather than improving property conditions themselves.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said:

“If Liverpool Council really believes licensing is so key to ensuring properties are safe, it begs the question why it takes so long to process applications for them. At a time when the condition of housing is under such scrutiny, the Council is spending too much time administering a licencing scheme and not enough time taking enforcement action to tackle poor quality housing.

“Rather than penalising good landlords with a blanket policy, the Council should use the range of data already available to them to find and root out the minority of landlords who fail  to provide safe housing.”