Liverpool City Council, which introduced the country’s first city-wide licensing scheme of rented properties last year, has announced new partnerships.
They are with ARLA, NALS and the Residential Landlords Association. The scheme is highly controversial, not least because of its costs.
Councils are not allowed to make profits from licensing schemes, but questions have been asked as to why Liverpool’s charges seem so high.
The new agreement with the three industry bodies means that landlords represented by any of the associations will get a 50% discount on licensing fees, paying £200 per property rather than the standard rate of £400 for the first property and £350 for each subsequent one.
Cllr Frank Hont, cabinet member for housing, said: “When we launched the scheme we were clear that we wanted to work with the private rented sector to help them comply with the scheme, and find ways of giving discounts to those that are committed to meeting the standards.
“I am delighted that ARLA, NALS and the RLA have all come on board.
“It is a win-win for everyone, because their members benefit from a reduced fee and we are able to target our resources at those landlords who we know aren’t meeting the standards.
“This is all part of our drive to improve the quality of housing in the city and make sure that our residents have access to good quality accommodation.”
David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said: “We are really pleased to become a co-regulator for the Liverpool selective licensing scheme.
“We are glad Liverpool City Council has seen the importance of distinguishing between the professional market and those who the scheme is designed to remove from Liverpool’s rental market.
“ARLA welcomes this initiative, and hopefully by giving landlords who use our members a 50% discount on licensing fees, it will encourage more landlords to use licensed letting agents.”
Isobel Thomson, NALS chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be part of a co-regulatory partnership with Liverpool City Council for their Selective Licensing Scheme. We welcome the recognition they have given to NALS agents and the strict criteria they meet in relation to customer service and consumer protection.
“By offering a discounted licensing fee for those agents who come under a co-regulatory partnership, it is a clear indicator to landlords of which agents they should be using.
Andrew Goodacre, RLA chief executive, said: “The RLA is the only landlord association approved to offer a co-regulation alternative to those landlords in Liverpool who wish to continue to manage their portfolio themselves.
“There are a growing number of landlords who are choosing to manage their properties directly and our scheme is an ideal vehicle for self-regulation whilst still providing significant savings on the licence fees.”
Almost 8,500 landlords responsible for around 39,500 properties have so far started the application process for the scheme, which came into effect last April.
The City Council has also started to issue the first batch of licences.