Government reject plans to renew selective licensing scheme for 55,000 private rented homes in Liverpool

Monday, January 13th, 2020 -

London Property Licensing understands the government have rejected plans to renew the citywide selective licensing scheme for all private rented homes in Liverpool.

The news has been reported today (13 January 2020) on the council’s twitter feed, @lpoolcouncil, with articles also appearing in the Liverpool Express (here) and Liverpool Echo (here).

Liverpool Ciyt Council selective licensing tweet 2020

According to the reports, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has turned down an application because it did not demonstrate robust evidence to support the existence of low housing demand across the whole city.

It is understood that the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, is writing to the Government to express his grave concerns over its decision to reject the council’s request to continue their citywide scheme which is due to end on 31 March 2020.

Under regulations introduced in 2015, government approval is needed for any selective licensing scheme that covers more than 20% of a council area and/or 20% or private rented homes.

According to the council, the decision will severely hamper attempts to drive up standards in the private rental sector and keep vulnerable tenants safe – particularly in relation to fire safety in rented properties.

The council is asking for detailed clarification on the reasons for the rejection of the application to renew the scheme and the evidence that the government relied on.

At the time of going to press, it is not known whether the council may seek to launch a legal challenge against the government’s decision, or explore options to introduce a smaller scheme.

The decision to reject scheme renewal is likely to cause concern amongst other councils seeking to implement similar blanket licensing schemes.

Brent, Enfield Lewisham and Waltham Forest Councils have all recently consulted on plans for extensive selective licensing schemes but will need permission from the Secretary of State before they can be implemented. A further consultation also recently started on plans to renew the selective licensing scheme in Croydon.

London Property Licensing will continue to monitor all licensing scheme developments in London and provide our readers with regular updates.

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