Liverpool landlords: what’s the latest on the licensing scheme in the city?


In an increasing number of areas in the UK, landlords require licences to operate their rental properties. The scheme for Liverpool landlords ended this year, so what’s the situation now?

There are currently at least 50 councils across England that operate licensing schemes in the buy-to-let sector. While certain rental property types always require a licence to operate, other areas fall under selective or additional licensing programmes.

Liverpool council had been running a pioneering selective landlord licensing scheme since 2005. According to them, the scheme had seen a total of 37,000 compliance actions, more than 2,500 legal and fixed penalty notices and 250 landlords prosecuted since its introduction.

For “rogue” landlords, Liverpool may have become a place to avoid. However, for good landlords and property investors, it has become an area with a reputation for high standards in the private rented sector. And those landlords who were already members of an accredited or council-approved co-regulation scheme got a discount on their licences.

The end of landlord licensing in Liverpool

The scheme in Liverpool ran out on 31st March after running successfully for five years. At the time of its expiry, there were 10,000 landlords holding licences in the city with around 52,000 rental properties.

While the council had applied for a five-year extension, the government rejected it. According to them, there was not enough evidence to back up the application and prove the need for a licensing scheme.

With the scheme no longer active, landlords in Liverpool are now operating without licences. So if you own a buy-to-let property there, or are considering investing in one, that is the current situation. The exception is for large HMOs (houses in multiple occupation), which still require a mandatory licence to operate.

The council has criticised the rejection, though, and is going to challenge the government’s decision. It has now filed a High Court action to seek a judicial review of the decision.

Eradicating rogue landlords

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “It defied logic and has put the lives of some of our most vulnerable tenants at risk. As a result of the scheme, the safety conditions of 3,570 properties were improved but the scale of the issues we found is frightening and that’s why we produced the evidence to show why we need to continue the scheme.

“The council has a moral obligation to protect people from rogue landlords. Many in the private rented sector are good landlords but unfortunately there is a sizeable minority that need to be tackled.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Liverpool City Council was one of more than 130 local councils to recently receive a share of £4.3m funding from government to tackle rogue landlords.

“We will continue to support Liverpool City Council and other local authorities in taking effective enforcement action as part of our commitment to securing a better deal for tenants across the country.”

The pros and cons of landlord licensing

Councils often bring in selective licensing in areas where there is a low demand for houses, high levels of crime, homes in poor condition, or major anti-social behaviour issues.

The aim of licensing is to improve the management and condition of rental properties. This in turn increases demand, making more people want to live there. It can also boost house prices in the area and reduce crime.

Landlords who want a licence in an area where selective licensing operates must carry out safety checks on their properties. They must also register their details with the council. The council can carry out inspections, raise issues and enforce action and penalties if necessary.

According to Liverpool, and many other councils across the country, the schemes help to “weed out” bad landlords. By setting minimum standards, the rental market becomes safer for tenants. For good landlords willing to invest in their businesses, getting a licence shouldn’t be an issue.

However, some have criticised licensing schemes as being too harsh. Others believe they penalise good landlords, and the licence fee is an added expense. They think the burden of the fees is taken on by reputable landlords who stick to the rules, while rogue landlords simply move elsewhere.

Regardless of the licensing situation in Liverpool, and how it resolves, it is one of the most attractive cities in the UK to be a landlord. Property there is much more affordable than many other areas of the country. As such, it repeatedly comes out as one of the highest-yielding property investment locations. There are also plenty of investment projects and developments in the pipeline in the city.

BuyAssociation has a number of property investment opportunities available in Liverpool. Sign up for free to get exclusive access to all our deals, or get in touch here.

Highgrove Mews

High Net Yield Freehold Houses

  • Commutable to London (27 mins to central Paddington station)
  • Rental demand extremely strong with large industry presence in Reading
  • Freehold with 4% net yield

£284,955 - £457,000

St Petersgate – Stockport Manchester

New Launch - Stockport Manchester, apartments from £160,000

  • Discounted launch prices from £160,000
  • Excellent transport links with 3 trains per hour to London Euston and only 9 mins journey to Manchester Piccadilly
  • Experienced development team

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

  • Assured rent & no rental voids
  • Tenant damage cover & newly refurbished inline with requirements of a corporate sitting tenant
  • Free property and lettings management

From £62,000

Emerging Birmingham Commuter Town With Properties From Just £104,000

The emerging Birmingham commuter town where properties are selling in an average of just 24 days

  • A collection of 62 two bedroom apartments and 28 one bedroom apartments.
  • DE14 is one of the fastest selling postcodes in the West Midlands.
  • 23 minute train journey into Birmingham New Street Station.

Properties from £104,000

Mill, Stockport

The Northwest's emerging property hotspot

  • Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000
  • Completion date - Q4 2021
  • Rental yields - 6% plus

Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000

South Central – Birmingham City Centre Apartments

Highly anticipated 28 storey launch in Birmingham City Centre with an impressive roof garden and communal facilities.

  • 154 units across 28 storeys
  • Residential multi-media community room, gym, roof garden and sky cinema
  • Excellent future connectivity via the metro system to other key transport hubs and locations around the city

from £205,800


Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today: 

+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT

+852 9865 4446

Open from 9am-6pm HKT

Stamp Duty Calculator


Unlock members only investment opportunities and full development details. Join now – it’s free, quick and easy.


Not a member? Sign up for free


Liverpool landlords: what’s the latest on the licensing scheme in the city?


By submitting your details via this online form you agree to be contacted via email/phone/SMS by Direct Marketplace Ltd t/a BuyAssociation in relation to property investment and property developments . We do not share your personal details with third parties.  To view our full Privacy Policy click here.