Licensing scheme extended to clamp down on rogue landlords

An example of some of the poor conditions

Wirral Council is set to strengthen its stance against rogue landlords after agreeing the extension of a licensing scheme which forces them to improve their properties – or face seeing them being taken off the market.

Selective Licensing, which requires landlords to agree to a range of conditions around the standards of their accommodation, is being extended through some of Wirral’s more deprived communities, after helping to drive up the quality of rented accommodation in parts of Birkenhead and Wallasey.

The council’s Cabinet is due to formerly agree the extension when it meets on Monday October 1, after holding a public consultation on the issue.

The scheme will now be extended to cover four more parts of east Wirral, where there is a higher than average number of private rented housing available and a high turnover of tenants.

The four new areas proposed are Hamilton Square, Seacombe St Pauls, Birkenhead West and Birkenhead Central. These would join Egerton North, Birkenhead South, Seacombe Library and Egremont Promenade South as Selective Licensing areas.

Cllr George Davies, Wirral Council cabinet member for housing and community safety, said: “Wirral residents demand – and deserve – to live in good quality, safe and attractive housing.

“The availability of private rented accommodation has more than doubled in Wirral in the last 10 years and while we know that many of these properties are of an excellent standard, managed by responsible landlords, there are others that aren’t up to scratch.”

The council has successfully made 42 prosecutions in the four original Selective Licensing areas against those who have either failed to obtain licenses for their properties, or fallen foul of the conditions they agreed to.

“We will not tolerate Wirral residents being forced to live in poor conditions by irresponsible landlords,” said Cllr Davies.

“This licensing scheme is a good way for us to tackle this issue and, where a landlord does not live up to their responsibilities to their tenants, we will not hesitate to take action against them.

“Our Selective Licensing scheme supports improvement in the quality of housing in the areas of Birkenhead and Wallasey where it is applied.

“It has brought many social and health benefits along with it and people from across the political spectrum have rightly highlighted its success and championed it for their own area, calling for its expansion.

“This is where the council needs to step in and use all the powers that we have to drive up the standards of this housing on behalf of tenants and this is what we are aiming to do by extending the Selective Licensing scheme.”

The maps and addresses of affected properties for the new Selective Licensing areas can be found on the Wirral Council website.