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Tue 02 Feb 2016

Liverpool License update

But authority hits back saying National Landlords Association has "fought registration tooth and nail since day one"

Liverpool council has issued just 2% of licensing applications since launching its citywide scheme for landlords in April last year .

The figures were revealed following a Freedom of Information request (FOI) from the National Landlords Association (NLA).

But the local authority has hit back at the NLA saying it they have “fought Landlord Licensing tooth and nail since day one” and the current two stage process for licensing was brought in because landlords had asked for it.

The scheme, which is compulsory for all private landlords in Liverpool , was introduced to boost the quality of private rented homes in the city.

The NLA says that in comparison, the London Borough of Newham processed 74% of their applications in the same time period.

According to the figures released through the NLA Liverpool council has completed 648 of 39,100 licence applications compared to 20,000 of 27,000 of licence applications by Newham in the first six months.

Carolyn Uphill, chair of the NLA, said: “Quite frankly it’s embarrassing. If the council can’t process applications or inspect properties, then how can it improve property standards for tenants?

“At this rate, it will take 13 years to inspect the city’s private rented housing, and 38 years to license them all, so the scheme’s co-regulation partners have got their work cut out.

“The NLA has opposed this scheme from the very start. We do not regulate our members, so it would be inappropriate for us to play any part in a scheme that effectively polices landlords on the council’s behalf.”

In order to be granted licences, landlords have to declare convictions and their properties must meet fire, electric and gas safety standards and be in a good state of repair. The licence costs £400 for a first property and £350 for every additional property.

Cllr Frank Hont, cabinet for housing, said: “The NLA has fought Landlord Licensing tooth and nail since day one and have conspired against us to make it as difficult as possible to introduce it and drive up standards for people living in private rented accommodation.

“We deliberately introduced a staged process for applications and payments because it was what landlord organisations asked us to do, and we listened to their feedback and acted.

“It is really disappointing that the NLA simply complain about the scheme rather than getting on board as a co-regulation partner and helping us drive up standards. It is costing their members a £200 discount on each property they own.”

A council spokesman added: “So far, over 8,600 proposed licence holders who are responsible for over 41,000 properties have commenced the staged application process and we thank them for their co-operation.

“We’ve issued licenses to all of those applicants who have made a full and valid application. We are now starting compliance checks to ensure licence conditions are being met and management standards for tenants are being maintained.”