Mayoral candidates push for landlord licensing

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TO LET: Liverpool has a bouyant rental market

All three mayoral Labour candidates have taken to twitter to push for a citywide landlord licensing scheme.

Candidates Ann O’Byrne, Anna Rothery and Wendy Simon have all pledged to fight for the citywide scheme if they are to be elected, with the latter the latest to show support for the cause.

Liverpool’s landlord licensing scheme, which came into force in 2015, required landlords that rent out their properties to comply with certain criteria, protecting tenants.

However, the government decided against renewing the scheme for another five years until 2025, leading to concerns that tenants in some areas will be left exposed to rogue landlords.

Councillor Wendy Simon said on twitter: “I would most definitely continue to push for a Citywide Scheme. The selective scheme was to make sure the wards most impacted were covered when nationally the citywide scheme was taken away from us.”

ACORN Liverpool, who are a mass membership organisation and network of low-income people organising for a fairer deal for communities, are delighted by the candidates’ announcements. The group are supporting a citywide scheme as they have concerns over the ‘postcode lottery’ of the selective scheme.

Jack Kenny of ACORN Liverpool said: “We push all of the mayoral candidates, it was ACORN’s tweet to them that prompted them to confirm that this is something they want to commit to fighting for.

“The lovely words of the candidates are exactly what we want to hear. But that’s all they are at the moment is words and we want actions.

“We don’t want to see renters in the city go unprotected just because of the fact that they live in a certain postcode.”

Areas in Liverpool that will not be covered by the selective scheme are: Croxteth, Norris Green, Yew Tree, Knotty Ash, Clubmoor, West Derby, Childwall, Church, Allerton, Hunts Cross, Belle Vale, Woolton, Cressington, Speke, Garston and Mossley Hill.

Mr Kenny said: “It’s a massive worry because that leaves people in really vulnerable positions and that’s when we start to see the lack of effective housing.”

Liverpool City Council said the scheme is backed by Merseyside Police, Mersey Fire & Rescue Service and the majority of residents who responded to a consultation.

Councillor Richard Kemp said: “We had a city-wide landlord licensing scheme but when it came for renewal the government made us focus on a smaller area where clear problems of anti-social behaviour could be seen.”

Liverpool’s longest serving councillor added: “Since the financial crash we have more and more landlords, many of whom are inexperienced, owning one or two properties.

“We also now have a surfeit of poor-quality city centre studios and flats. This is driving down prices and stopping good landlords investing in quality properties.”

About Will Rayment, JMU Journalism