0:03 AM, 8th December 2022, About A year ago 11
A city council that introduced a selective licensing scheme in April has been deluged with 31,000 applications from landlords – but has only issued 104 licenses so far.
This has prompted the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) to condemn the scheme as a ‘waste of time’.
And, the NRLA has calculated, it will take council officers 148 years to process applications from landlords at the same rate.
The scheme in Liverpool was hailed by the city council as being a crucial tool in addressing sub-standard housing across the city.
The move saw all privately rented homes across Liverpool’s 16 wards needing a licence.
Now the NRLA says that the figures presented to the Liverpool Landlord Forum raise ‘serious questions’ about the extent to which the scheme is needed to address the city’s 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 the city, 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.
The NRLA found that just two penalties were issued for breaches of management regulations in shared housing.
Now the NRLA says 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, the organisation’s chief executive 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.”
He added: “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.”
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