Liverpool’s Labour mayor says he is confident that the city will, after all, be able to renew its city-wide licensing scheme.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick last month declined the council’s bid to get a five year extension to its scheme. The Labour Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, wrote to the Secretary of State expressing “grave concern”.
“This decision is not only ill-thought through and short-sighted, it also puts the lives of some of our most vulnerable tenants at risk. This decision flies in the face of the government’s tough talk on housing standards, particularly around fire safety in rented properties” he claimed at the time.
The refusal to extend the scheme also provoked strong condemnation from the Liverpool Echo newspaper.
But now, it seems, a U-turn may be imminent - at least in the eyes of Labour.
The Echo reports that “the government could be forced to reverse its hugely controversial decision to scrap a successful scheme” and Mayor Anderson is quoted as saying:
"We are keeping the pressure up and have met with government officials. While we are still looking at the possibility of a legal challenge I am now confident that we will be able to retain a landlord licensing scheme in the city.
"We have had an encouraging dialogue with government that suggests to me that we will be able to retain this scheme that is protecting people in their homes in this city.
"Government officials will be coming to Liverpool to discuss this and I'm confident we will find a solution."
Over the past five years an average seven in 10 of inspected properties in Liverpool have been found to be in breach of their licence condition.
The council has carried out over 37,000 compliance actions, issued more than 2,500 legal and fixed penalty notices and prosecuted almost 250 landlords.