Liverpool granting licences to Agents and not Landlords?

Liverpool granting licences to Agents and not Landlords?

11:06 AM, 21st June 2022, About 3 months ago 40

Text Size

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

Simon F

14:29 PM, 6th July 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Fred Lawless at 06/07/2022 - 12:35
LCC here have over-intepretted Section 88 & 89, and missing the critical fact that an agent acts purely on behalf of the LL, not themselves, including when accepting rent. Reading https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/88 (and 89), it is plain that the licence holder and proposed manager are not generally assumed to be one and the same. If the LL lacks competence or availability to self-manage and assigns an agent to act on his/her behalf that does not at all imply that the agent is a more appropriate person to be licence holder -- because the LL retains overall responsibility and control. Where the property owner definitely should NOT be the licence holder is in a rent-to-rent situation, where full control of the property is with another party. If LCC reject a licence on the grounds that they regard the agent as a more appropriate party to be licence holder, simply point out the fact that the agent cannot allocate funds to maintenance and repairs without the LL's discrete approval -- that proves the point that the LL has control not the agent.

Simon F

15:23 PM, 6th July 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon F at 06/07/2022 - 14:29
I would add: you have 28 days to appeal (but within that timeframe first try convince LCC to re-assess after spelling out the limits of the agents' powers). What the Housing Act 2004 has to say on appeals is here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/schedule/5

Fred Lawless

17:56 PM, 26th July 2022, About 2 months ago

Does anyone know the deadline date for applying for a licence? I've scanned through the Council website and the only dates it gives is the start of the scheme (April) and the date when the 'early bird' discount ends (31st July). The 'early bird' date suggests after that date licenses can be purchased for a higher fee but doesn't give a date after which unlicensed landlords might be subject to a fine. How can they threaten landlords with a fine for not obtaining a licence if they don't tell us by which date we need to have one?

I'm currently selling a property so I'm loathe to buy a licence now because when the property is sold the licence is non-transferable. Therefore I'd rather wait until the last possible date before buying a licence.

Fred Deagle

0:38 AM, 27th July 2022, About 2 months ago

just bought a student property in liverpool. i live in london but the agent X1 is offering to complete the application on my behalf for £300+vat. absolute joke! i'll probably have to fork this out if not LCC will reject my application as i dont collect the rent.

Gra Rock

9:09 AM, 27th July 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Fred Deagle at 27/07/2022 - 00:38
Have a read of Simon F's comments from about 3 weeks ago - very well put. The Letting Agent does not have unequivocal responsibility and should be receiving rent into a segregated client account as the rent is not theirs.

Simon F

9:16 AM, 27th July 2022, About 2 months ago

No court would uphold LCC's position on Rent collection, that's a blind alley. Rent is collected by an agent ON BEHALF of the landlord. The clue is in the meaning of the word 'agent'. The landlord, not the agent, controls the property (authorises maintenance expenditure for example) and is the most appropriate person to be licence holder. Apply properly (but best add a letter explaining your level of control and limits of X1 authority to clearly justify why you are more appropriate than X1) and be ready: if LCC reject your application saying you are not the most appropriate person, call their bluff: register a formal complaint immediately - again defining your level of control, your right to veto any agent decision, that the agent having no right to authorize expenditure on repairs/maintenance etc. They will likely relent if they get pushback and they see they will need to get your approval on any remediation works. But if that is responded to with crass reply, escalate to the LA ombudsman or property tribunal. LCC can only legitimately reject a landlord as licence holder if they live out of the country, or are not a fit and proper person (ie have convictions), or if it's an R2R scenario.

Fred Lawless

10:49 AM, 27th July 2022, About 2 months ago

Just adding to the landlord/agent 'most appropriate person' debate. My estate agent has offered to be the license holder and has told me that if I fill in the application forms and pay the fees they are happy to be the license holder for my properties without charge, however as this has to go in a person's name rather than a company name, the owner of the agency doesn't want to give an out-of-hours mobile number. As I'm ok with my tenants having my out-of-hours number (and actually prefer it), I therefore think I am the most appropriate person to be the license holder. I've therefore just written to the council asking them to confirm that an estate agent who refuses to give an out-of-hours number can no longer be considered the most appropriate person to be a license holder. I'll post here when I get a reply from them to let you know what they have told me.

Peter Hindley View Profile

19:58 PM, 28th August 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Lesley Clarke at 21/06/2022 - 15:38
£240 + VAT per property

Peter Hindley View Profile

20:07 PM, 28th August 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Had this email from LCC on Thursday (the bad typing & spelling is their's) :

Your application submitted through the Liverpool City Council Online Portal has received comments which require your attention.

The new Council Comment that was added was:

Ihave reviewed and provisionally accepted your application however as you have amanaging agent you may not be the most appropriate person to hold the licence.

Thelicence holder should be, in most cases, the person or company that does thefollowing:

collects the rent
issues and ends tenancies
carries out the day-to-day management of the property
is the contact for tenants to call on if they need to report repairs or other issues
Thelicence holder must also have a valid UK address that legal notices can beserved at.

Pleasenote the most appropriate person must be the licence holder in all cases. Ifthis is not the case an application for a licence can be refused with a newapplication and fee required at resubmission.

Pleaseadvise how you wish to procced.

Gra Rock

16:05 PM, 31st August 2022, About 4 weeks ago

I had similar and responded (as copied back from the Additional Actions -Comments field provided on 26th July):

"One of my contacts in Leaders confirmed discussing the situation of Letting Agent/Landlord with a council/licencing representative and it was confirmed to them (as I am advised) that the landlord should be the Licence Holder. Whilst the Letting Agent may be given some degree of autonomy, ultimately they receive rent as agent for the landlord, and should segregate payments in a client account, and they do not have the authority to start/end tenancies. Leaders therefore confirmed to me that to their understanding I should be the license holder. "

Relative to five submissions between 22nd and 31st there's been no more response/update, albeit I'm refreshing the LCC display on a regular basis. Ho hum.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership

or

Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now