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Liverpool & Merseyside Residential Report

Mark Hempshell concludes with the second instalment in our latest market update

Liverpool City Council introduced a flagship landlord licensing scheme in April 2015 by implementing selective licensing across the entire council area. As a result all private landlords must apply for a five year licence for each of their rental properties. Applicants must pass a 'fit and proper' person test and agree to maintain their properties to a certain standard. The current fee is £400 for the first property
plus £350 for additional properties. Those who are member of several recognised 'co-regulation' organisations (including RLA) qualify for reduced fees of £200. The landlord licensing scheme does not apply to HMOs which are covered by the usual HMO licensing regime.

The scheme has proved controversial on various levels. According to a February 2016 investigation by the National Landlords Association at that date the council had only completed on 648 (or 2%) of the 39,100 licence applications that have been made.

Outside the city of Liverpool itself Wirral Council has a selective licensing scheme in parts of Birkenhead and Wallasey. Knowsley Council has consulted on selective licensing for some limited areas of the borough.

Professional comment
Next let us take in some comment from professionals working in the Liverpool and Merseyside market. First, on trends in the significant auction market here, Cathy Holt, associate director of auctions at Sutton Kersh reports: "The sales market in Liverpool is performing well judging by auction sales over recent months. In our first auction of 2016 we saw £10.6m in sales, this was more than double that of our first auction last year. There has certainly been a strong demand from buyers, particularly those looking for buy to let investments, with us regularly selling close to 90% of the properties that come to auction, the majority of which are investment properties."

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