Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson has said that he will be writing to the government after they made the decision to stop supporting the city’s successful scheme aimed at improving the standards of rented property across the city.
An application to keep the licensing scheme running for another five years has been rejected by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick. This is despite the scheme being supported by Merseyside Police, Mersey Fire and Rescue Services and a large number of local residents.
The scheme saw private landlords in the city having to prove that their properties met fire, electric and gas safety standards and that the properties were in a good state of repair. As part of the scheme, licenced landlords would be subject to inspections to ensure that standards remain high.
Schemes that cover more than 20% of a local authority’s area require government approval, but it was assumed that approval would be received after the scheme was widely praised for driving up standards in the 55,000 rental properties across the city.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “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.
“Over the last five years our officers have come across people whose landlords are happy to take their rent while allowing them to live in appalling conditions with unsafe electrics, gas supply and no fire doors to protect them in the event that a blaze breaks out.
“The Landlord Licensing scheme has enabled us to create a team to be able to hit the streets every day and carry out inspections of properties and bring rogue landlords to book. It is not just about raising housing standards – it is about protecting and saving lives.
“This Government has already taken away £436 million of our funding since 2010 and is now weakening our power to improve housing standards for those who are part of generation rent to the bare minimum.
“All of the talk of devolution away from Whitehall rings hollow when we see ministers in London making vital decisions about cities like Liverpool and other areas they never step foot in.”