Liverpool to licence all private rented homes

Liverpool City Council has stepped up as the second local authority seeking to licence all private landlords and rental properties in the city.

The council reckons private landlords own around 50,000 in the city – and wants them all to register for a licence.

The council already licences around 1,250 shared houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), which house six or more tenants or qualify for special fire and health safety rules as they cover three or more floors.

A 12-week consultation is due to start at the end of January 2013, and councillors hope to have the private rental licensing scheme in force later in year.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “It’s vital that we drive up the quality of our private rented properties. Many areas which suffer blight in the city are characterised by large numbers of poorly managed private rented properties, leading to problems such as anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.

“The proposed licensing scheme would recognise the majority of good landlords who manage their properties properly, while enabling us to deal with the minority whose letting and management practices are poor.

“Licensing would create a minimum standard for the private rented sector, with landlords needing to show that they have adequate systems in place for their tenants – for example, reporting repairs and defects..

“We believe this scheme would be really beneficial for the city, but we will be consulting closely with landlords, tenants, residents and other stakeholders over the coming months, to make sure their views are fully taken on-board.”

The East London borough of Newham became the first council to require all private landlords to register their rental properties on January 1, 2013.

The council has around 35,000 private rented properties.

Oxford City Council started a scheme to licence all HMOs with three or more unrelated tenants sharing last year.

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