Liverpool’s citywide selective licensing scheme is “helping to drive up standards” in the rental sector according to an update on the initiative’s progress.
The legislation, which came into effect on 1 April 2015 and requires landlords to meet criteria and have licences for all private sector rental properties, is said to have reduced anti social behaviour and has also boosted applications for Liverpool City Council’s own landlord accreditation scheme CLASS.
A report to be discussed by the local authority’s regeneration, housing and sustainability select committee today (15 December) highlights that 47,300 licensing applications have been started to date, and 26,000 of those have been or are about to be licensed.
According to the document, “considerable efforts” are also being made to address unlicensed properties.
Meanwhile, licence conditions around managing anti social behaviour (ASB) with help from specialist staff is said to be “having a direct and welcome impact with successful work in targeted streets”.
The report says: “For example, as a result of action in Anfield, there has been a 15% reduction in that area from just tackling a few streets and ASB tenants.”
A “huge increase” in new CLASS applications is also said to have been positive for the industry and tenants, and comes after Liverpool landlords were offered a discount on their licensing fees if they were members of the accreditation scheme.
The discount, which ended in May 2016, is said to have brought benefits alongside the co-regulation agreements which saw the lettings industry organisations Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) and Residential Landlords Association (RLA) add their backing to Liverpool’s citywide licensing.
The council’s report adds: “The citywide scheme has drawn a lot of comment and challenge but taking the wider view of different stakeholders, early evidence suggests that it is helping to drive up standards. This inevitably raises expectations around the scheme.
“Regulation is only one part of the equation in housing. The scheme is not designed to be ‘anti-landlord’ but to create a level playing field. It is about making the sector more desirable to invest in and for the large proportion of people who have to live in rented properties, homes which are fit for purpose. Finally, that it is having a positive impact upon local communities.”