Liverpool City Council (LCC) has issued just 2% of licensing applications since launching its citywide landlord licensing scheme in April last year, according to information released by the council following a Freedom of Information request (FOI) from the National Landlords Association (NLA).
In comparison, the London Borough of Newham processed 74% of its applications in the same time, and its licensing scheme has resulted in more than 600 prosecutions, more than 500 arrests, more than 100 rent repayment orders and 26 banning orders since launching in January 2013.
The news comes as the council recently announced its co-regulation partners to administer the scheme.
The scheme, which is compulsory for all private landlords in Liverpool, was introduced to ensure a level of quality assurance and proper practice among landlords in the city.
In order to be granted licences, landlords have to declare convictions and their properties must meet fire, electric and gas safety standards and be in a good state of repair.
The licence costs £400 for a first property and £350 for every additional property. Landlords who are members of the city’s accreditation scheme CLASS or members of the Council’s co-regulation partner organisations receive a 50% discount for licensing, so £200 for a license.
Carolyn Uphill, chairman of the NLA, said: “These findings show that Liverpool City Council can’t cope with this scheme, which is precisely what we said would happen when they proposed it almost two years ago.
“Quite frankly it’s embarrassing. If the council can’t process applications or inspect properties, then how can it improve property standards for tenants?
“At this rate, it will take 13 years to inspect the City’s private rented housing, and 38 years to license them all, so the scheme’s co-regulation partners have got their work cut out.
“The NLA has opposed this scheme from the very start. We do not regulate our members, so it would be inappropriate for us to play any part in a scheme that effectively polices landlords on the council’s behalf.”