The issue of rogue landlords is becoming extremely serious recently, especially as there are a number of people in the UK who are living in properties that are a danger to themselves and others around them. For example, one woman in north Liverpool had her entire front room floor eaten away by rats, while other homes in the area were found to be infested with a type of mould known to cause cancer. This investigation was carried out by the housing charity Shelter, and the shocking results have led to Liverpool Council considering bringing in mandatory registration for all landlords.
In a report soon to be put forward to the city’s officials, it said: “Some neighbourhoods that suffer from environmental blight are characterised by large numbers of privately-rented properties where tenants and landlords are often responsible for dumping waste and fly-tipping, particularly at the end of short-term tenancies.” In Liverpool there are currently almost fifty thousand privately rented accommodations, and according to the report almost half of these are not up to suitable standards.
Discussing the issue, council cabinet member for housing, Councillor Anne O’Byrne said: “It’s vital that we do all we can to work with landlords across Liverpool to drive up the quality of our private rented properties. The proposed licensing scheme would recognise the majority of good landlords who manage their properties properly, while enabling us to deal with the minority who choose not to engage with us.
“We believe this scheme would be really beneficial for the city, but we will be consulting closely with landlords, tenants, residents and other stakeholders, to make sure their views are taken on board.” Meanwhile, Kay Boycott, director of policy and communications at Shelter said: “With one in three private rented homes failing to meet the government’s decent homes standard, it’s really good to see that Liverpool City Council is looking at ways to make living conditions better for the thousands of private renters across the city. We hope other councils follow Liverpool’s lead.”
Private landlords are already required by law to keep their properties to a safe standard, which is why many invest in landlord insurance to help cover the costs of routine maintenance. However, as the market for private rented accommodation is currently booming, it has become difficult for authorities to keep track of all private landlords throughout the UK and to ensure that they are fulfilling their legal duties.