It has recently been announced that Housing and Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has refused Liverpool City Council’s application to continue with the scheme that makes it obligatory for all private landlords in the city to obtain a licence for each of their rented properties.
The scheme, originally introduced in April 2015 as a 5 year scheme under the selective licensing laws, makes it compulsory for all private landlords in the city to obtain a licence for their rental properties.
Failure to do so is a criminal offence which can also result in a fine. Its primary aim was to ensure the safety of tenants and to “weed out “bad landlords and provide protection to the residents of Liverpool. As such, under the scheme, their properties must be in a good state of repair and meet fire, gas and electric safety standards. Landlords are also required to declare any convictions for dishonesty, violence or drug related offences and any breaches of housing and landlord and tenant law.
The success of the scheme can be shown by looking at the statistics:
- 70% of properties inspected uncovered some form of safety hazard
- 37,000 compliance actions have been carried out
- 2500 legal fixed penalty notices issued
- 250 landlord prosecutions
The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has spoken out about the decision to shut down the licensing scheme, “This decision is not only ill-thought through and short-sighted, it also puts the lives of some of our most vulnerable tenants at risk.”
There are laws in force that protect tenants in situations where they are living in either dangerous conditions or are suffering from housing disrepair. These issues primarily are covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 along with the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.