Liverpool granting licences to Agents and not Landlords?

Liverpool granting licences to Agents and not Landlords?

11:06 AM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago 27

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I have received a letter today from a Letting Agent:

“We have been in discussion with Liverpool Council regarding the issuing of licenses under their new Selective Licensing Scheme. We have had a number of applications rejected on the basis that the landlord is not the most appropriate person to hold the licence. Instead, the Council have advised that the managing agent is the most appropriate person to hold the licence and therefore applications must be made in the name of the managing agent.

A number of landlords have made applications direct and received the same rejection and response. We have also been advised that if a licence application is rejected the initial application fee may be forfeit.”

The letter goes on to say ”the council will not grant licenses unless they are in the name of the managing agent”.

Does anyone know what is happening here, please?

Peter



Comments

Sam Smith

11:32 AM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

A joke if true but I highly doubt it

Simon F

12:39 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

That needs challenging.. firstly, it's not in line with published national guidance on Selective Licencing, and secondly, (I'm guessing here) this very peculiar requirement was NOT covered in the public consultation. Check gov.uk docs on Selective Licencing. One of these: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/selective-licensing-in-the-private-rented-sector-a-guide-for-local-authorities/selective-licensing-in-the-private-rented-sector-a-guide-for-local-authorities
3rd paragraph there says: Local residents, landlords and tenants (and any other person likely to be affected by the selective licensing designation) must be consulted prior to the introduction of a licensing scheme. Landlords who rent out properties in an area that is subject to selective licensing are required to obtain a licence from the local authority for each of their properties.
.. note that says "Landlords".

Simon F

12:44 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

I'd recommend use the City Council Complaints process - you'll get a brush-off response, but you need to do that before you can take the matter to the LA Ombudsman. Find others in same boat, and all complain in same way, they'll get the message.

Simon M

13:06 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon F at 21/06/2022 - 12:44
The Letting Agent made the comment so Peter shouldn't complain to the Council, but instead call them to ask if this is their advice. If the Council's reply doesn't confirm it's the Landlord then I'd submit a formal FoI. It's unlikely they get it wrong in writing, and if they do should be easier to overturn based on the regulations.

Ofer Moses

13:11 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Sam Smith at 21/06/2022 - 11:32Councils carry out fit and proper tests on landlords.
I may be wrong, but it might be the case that some landlords were not regarded as fit and proper and therefore advised that the letting agents be the licence holder.
Councils will not want to jeopardise the tenancy, so will offer alternative arrangements.

Simon F

13:20 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon M at 21/06/2022 - 13:06
Good point. Get hold of the correspondence. The issue may well be that the Letting Agent messed up the application.

Gra Rock

13:34 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

I raised the same question a few weeks back on a different thread... the wording in the Licensing does infer the Agent is 'best suited'... we have one agent that is taking this approach and one that is TRYING to get clarity from the council before the 'Early Bird' discount offer expires ... end June! Both are reputable firms and yet neither agree on the correct approach (both run fully managed properties for us). A difficulty upon which I was seeking clarity was that of a 'falling out' with your agent... if they are the licensee, you're essentially locked in with them for 5 years, as if you moved your business to an alternate the original agent would not want to retain responsibility... they surrender the license, the Landlord has to arrange for another at full cost for the residual period of the 5-year term. The record-keeping conditions in the license are horrendous IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, and for me it's a trade off between locking-in and possibly being unhappy with service quality in future, versus the risk of being unable to respond to LCC in their timeframe should tenancy problems arise, and us then getting disproportionately clobbered with a penalty. The LCC is, to my mind, enforcing you to have to stay with an agent or take the hit of relicensing should a relationship issue arise.

Simon F

14:38 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Gra Rock at 21/06/2022 - 13:34
I agree about the potential downsides which LCC won't care about, but they are overstepping here. I'm not in Liverpool, and a lot more familiar with Mandatory Licensing and Additional Licencing of HMOs, rather than Selective Licencing, but Licencing is Licensing : lots of HMO landlords all over the country have Licenses in their own name since ~2013 with the property managed by a local agent without that being inappropriate to the Licencing authority. I know a Landlord living in Spain with a Licence in his own name. If Liverpool did not put this aspect (of Landlord's NOT generally being the Licencee) as a Question to local Landlords and Agents in their consultation, an FoI (as Simon M says) is a good way to go.

Lesley Clarke

15:38 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

Does your letting agent charge a fee for applying on your behalf? If so I suspect they are trying it on. I have a property in Liverpool. I have applied for a licence. The application has been approved and I am just waiting for the licence certificate to be issued. Liverpool Council have not told me I have to apply through my letting agent.

Gra Rock

17:00 PM, 21st June 2022, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Lesley Clarke at 21/06/2022 - 15:38
No charge... but technically they get the comfort of knowing we'll be staying with them for 5 years... not currently an issue i might add.

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