New licence will cost private landlords

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Liverpool city centre. Photo: Ida Husøy

Liverpool city centre. Photo: Ida Husøy

A new licence set up by Liverpool City Council will see private landlords having to fork out up to £400 to rent out their property.

Aimed at improving Liverpool’s private rented housing, the compulsory scheme could see landlords fined £5,000 or face prosecution if they have not registered by 1st April this year.

Liverpool City Council has introduced this mandatory scheme for 50,000 lets within the city in a bid to ensure tenants can differentiate between good and bad landlords.

The process not only investigates if they have a history of convictions for dishonesty, violence or drugs but it is also forces landlords to meet health and safety guidelines, as well as keeping up with anti-social behavior complaints.

Julie Prestland, community campaign manager at Generation Rent, believes that the new rules are a positive development.

She told JMU Journalism: “We support borough-wide licensing schemes as the best possible solution to the current conditions for tenants in the Private Renter Sector because it provides comprehensive protection for tenants.

“[It] allows environmental health teams to focus more closely on areas where licences are not being applied for and means that rogue landlords cannot operate with impunity in some parts of the local authority.”

The new rules will see private landlords paying £400 in order to obtain a five year licence on their property with an additional £350 for each house.

However, accredited landlords have been granted a reduction of £100 to their fees, which Tom Reynolds, Liverpool’s representative for landlords, describes as the smallest element of the problem. He said the new licensing rules are a ‘downer in every direction’

He told JMU Journalism: “It won’t be good in any way for landlords. The actual conditions that the council is applying to the licence are quite draconian.

“They’ve gone much further and created a list of conditions to do with anti-social behaviour which are almost making the landlord responsible for dealing with it, whether they have anything to do with it or not. A landlord is obviously not a policeman.

“If a tenant is doing something wrong nobody is happy about that and the landlord is the least happy about it.”

Reynolds is hopeful that a landlord will take legal steps to argue the new rules with the council, adding: “It’s going to be an awful lot of red tape and bureaucracy, not all landlords are educated equally, they are like anybody else. You get good bus drivers and bad bus drivers, good solicitors and bad solicitors.

“There is no doubt in my mind that there are several landlords who are not as aware of this new licence as they should be.”

About Megan Hill, JMU Journalism