The controversial Labour-led council in Liverpool has started a lengthy consultation process over its latest proposals for landlord licensing.
The authority was at the centre of a huge controversy with the government earlier this year.
Shortly before Christmas the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick turned down an application for the council to extend its then-existing licensing regime, which would have seen the city’s existing licensing go on until 2025.
However, the dispute with the government since that time has meant that the licensing regime has expired and now there is no such scheme operating in Liverpool at all.
The city’s high-profile Labour Mayor, Joe Anderson, called the original licensing regime ”life saving” and claimed the council had “a moral obligation” to tens of thousands of renters who had been helped over the previous five years.
He said at the end of the scheme there were 51,764 property licences in force, issued to 10,074 licence holders, and the council’s team conducted over 34,000 compliance checks of properties. It identified 65 per cent as not being fully compliant with licence conditions at first visit.
The authority’s officers discovered what the council describes as a “staggering” 3,375 incidents of the most serious category 1 and 2 hazards across 1,971 inspections. These ranged from fire safety hazards to damp and mould, disrepair and excess cold issues.
However, that was put in jeopardy by the clash between the council and government, so now the local authority has backed down and submitted proposals for a new selective licensing scheme which would cover designated areas around the city equating to some 80 per cent of privately rented properties.
Last month the council’s cabinet approved a plan to start consultation on a new preferred scheme, that would only cover around 45,000 of the 55,000 properties currently covered.
This will now continue until October.