Government rejects Liverpool City Council licensing scheme

Article Posted -
14 Jan 2020

The Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick MP, has rejected Liverpool City Council’s application to renew its city-wide landlord licensing scheme for another five years. 

The selective licensing scheme, which was introduced in 2015 and expires on 31 March this year, covers all privately rented properties in Liverpool which are not covered by HMO licensing. 

Any selective licensing schemes which would affect more than 20 percent of either the local authority’s geographic area or of the privately rented homes in area are subject to approval by the Secretary of State. The local authority needs to show evidence that the grounds for the application are met. 

The NLA has long argued that Liverpool’s blanket approach to licensing penalises landlords who comply with the law, without a proportionate impact in prosecuting criminal landlords. We have advocated for a more targeted approach. 

Over the five years that the previous scheme has been operating, the council has issued more than 2,500 legal and fixed penalty notices and prosecuted almost 250 landlords. It’s estimated there are more than 55,000 privately rented properties in the city. 

It was reported that the Government said that Liverpool City Council’s application ‘did not demonstrate robust evidence to support the existence of low housing demand across the whole city’ – which the Council contests.  

Liverpool’s Mayor, Joe Anderson, has indicated that the City will be challenging the Government’s decision. He wrote in a comment piece for Inside Housing:  

“We’re not taking this lying down: we have asked for detailed clarification on the reasons for the rejection of the application to renew the scheme, and the evidence that they relied on.  

“If necessary we will take the issue to judicial review – because landlord licensing is not just about raising housing standards to help combat the issues of low demand, it is about protecting and saving lives.” 

Comments

Submitted by 011881 on 15 January 2020 - 10:09am

Bournemouth Poole & Christchurch Council (BPC) are currently running another consultation on a blanket licensing scheme. Before amalgamating with Poole and Christchurch, Bournemouth had tried to implement this once before, but it was voted down.
We fully support the NLA's stance on this... it is completely visible (I have seen the evidence for myself) that law-abiding, compliant, decent landlords will be nitpicked at and face prosecution for minor or inconsequential pieces of beaurocratic legislation whilst the real rogues continue to operate under the radar. The NLA's stance on TARGETING these individuals must be followed.

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