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Council signs deal to drive up standards in Liverpool's privately rented homes

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Thu 14 Jan 2016

Council signs deal to drive up standards in Liverpool's privately rented homes

Thousands of Liverpool tenants should see improved standards after the city councilsigned a deal with landlords’ representatives in the UK.

The agreement with three national organisations representing letting agents and landlords commits their members to providing high standards of housing.

The “co-regulation agreement” – the first of its type in the country – will mean they comply with the conditions of the council’s mandatory landlord licensing scheme. But it will also save landlords money after the city council agreed to reduce costs for registering properties.

The deal has been signed by ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents), NALS (National Approved Letting Scheme) and RLA (Residential Landlords Association).

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Frank Hont, said: “When we launched the landlord licensing scheme we were clear that we wanted to work with the private rented sector to help them comply with the scheme, and find ways of giving discounts to those that are committed to meeting the standards.

“I am delighted that ARLA, NALS and the RLA have all come on board. It is a win-win for everyone, because their members benefit from a reduced fee and we are able to target our resources at those landlords who we know aren’t meeting the standards.

“This is all part of our drive to improve the quality of housing in the city and make sure that our residents have access to good quality accommodation.”

The agreement means that property owners represented by each of the organisations will get a 50% on the landlord licensing fee and pay £200 per property, rather than the standard rate of £400 for the first and £350 for each subsequent home.

Almost 8,500 landlords responsible for around 39,500 properties have so far started the application process for the scheme, which came into effect in April 2015.

The city council has also started to issue the first batch of licences which will be followed by compliance checks to ensure licence conditions are being met and standards maintained.

In addition, both current and prospective tenants can access a database to see if their landlord has started the application process, and can let the council know if it is not on the database.

The Residential Landlords Association represents 40,000 private sector landlords throughout England and Wales, while ARLA has some 8,000 members and is a sister organisation to NALS, an independent licensing scheme for lettings and management agents operating in the private rented sector.

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the RLA, said: “The idea of co-regulation has been a key policy feature for the RLA over the past 12 months and we are delighted that Liverpool Council have given us the opportunity to implement a scheme of this nature.

“The RLA is the only landlord association approved to offer a co-regulation alternative to those landlords in Liverpool who wish to continue to manage their portfolio themselves.

“There are a growing number of landlords who are choosing to manage their properties directly and our scheme is an ideal vehicle for self-regulation whilst still providing significant savings on the licence fees.”