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Liverpool plans ‘alternative’ licensing scheme

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Liverpool City Council has confirmed it will NOT seek a Judicial Review on plans by the Secretary of State to block its plans to renew its controversial selective licensing scheme.

However, the local authority is now planning an alternative.

A city council cabinet report said officers from the authority are working with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) with ‘another scheme to be submitted for approval’ once the cabinet has thrashed out the details and the necessary consultations carried out.

As yet there is no more information as to what the scheme will look like, but given the recent snub, it seems unlikely to be another city-wide effort.

In the meantime, Liverpool City Council has said it will take a ‘robust stance’ towards landlords of unlicensed HMOs.

The RLA is now urging landlords in the city – who would have been covered by the city council licensing scheme – to check they will be compliant with national licensing requirements once the existing scheme ends in April.

HMOs – do I need a licence? 

The number of licensable HMOs in Liverpool will increase in April 1 this year

This is as a result of changes to mandatory licensing brought in during October 2018, which brought approximately 177,000 HMOs nationwide – 1,500 in Liverpool –  under the scope of mandatory licensing.  

What was known as the ‘three storey rule’ was scrapped, with landlords who let properties with to five or more tenants forming two or more households being required to hold a licence, irrespective of building size, unless it is part of a purpose-built block of flats.

While the city-wide licensing scheme was in place these homes were covered, but once it winds up in April landlords of such homes MUST make sure they have the relevant licence.

These licences are valid for up to five years, and each HMO property requires a separate licence. Those who do not comply face unlimited fines.

RLA policy manager John Stewart said: “It is difficult to make comment until we know exactly what the council has planned, but the RLA would oppose any attempt for another city-wide selective licensing scheme.

“In the meantime, we would urge all landlords to make sure they are compliant with existing licensing rules once the existing scheme ends in April so as not to fall foul of national regulations.” 

More information

To read more about the 2018 changes click here.

The RLA opposed the renewal of the city-wide licensing scheme, which was refused by the secretary of state earlier this year. You can read the RLA’s full response to the consultation here.

For more information click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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