How we monitor private sector housing conditions

The council has a statutory duty to monitor the condition of local private sector housing in Liverpool.

We do this in several ways:

  • Through our officers visiting householders in their homes to diagnose defects.
  • By collecting information on works carried out locally.
  • By periodic large-scale surveys of local properties, such as the housing condition survey.

Enforcement action we take

We have a team of Environmental Health Officers who can use enforcement powers to make unwilling landlords improve properties if there are serious health and safety risks to their tenants.

Where landlords fail to carry out the necessary work we can prosecute them if we consider housing conditions to be a danger on the basis of health and safety standards and the landlord is unwilling to take the appropriate remedial action.

Any person who controls or manages a property without holding a Landlord Licence (who is not exempt and fails to obtain one) is liable for enforcement action and potential prosecution. On conviction, this offence carries unlimited fines.

In addition, if there are any significant breach of licence conditions, or repeated complaints about the property or its maintenance, we will take action. This may lead to a licence being revoked and prosecution.

Penalties for private sector housing offences 

If we are sure that offences have been committed following an investigation, the person responsible for the property, normally the landlord or managing agent, could be liable for the following penalties introduced in January 2018.

Financial penalties

We have the power to impose a financial penalty called a ‘Civil Penalty’ of up to £30,000.00 for each offence committed.

The amount of the financial penalty will be decided using our Private Sector Housing Civil Penalties Policy. A financial penalty can be imposed for the following offences:

  • Failure to comply with an improvement notice.
  • Failure to licence a House in Multiple Occupation.
  • Failure to licence a property under the Landlord Licensing Scheme.
  • Failure to comply with HMO or Landlord Licensing Scheme conditions.
  • Breach of an overcrowding notice.
  • Failure to comply with management regulations in respect of Houses of Multiple Occupation.
  • Offences relating to breach of Banning Order, subject to implementation.

For further information, please see the government’s guidance on civil penalties under the Housing and Planning Act 2016

Rent Repayment Orders

We can recover up to a maximum of 12 months’ Housing Benefit, or the Housing Benefit element of Universal Credit, from a landlord. We can make an application for repayment of rent to the first-tier tribunal if the following offences have been committed:

  • Failure to licence a house in multiple occupation.
  • Failure to licence a property under the Landlord Licensing Scheme.
  • Violence to secure entry to a property.
  • Eviction or harassment of occupiers.
  • Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice.
  • Failure to comply with a Prohibition Order Notice.
  • Breach of a Banning Order, subject to implementation.

We may also help a tenant apply for a Rent Repayment Order in order to recover up to a maximum of 12 months’ rent from the landlord.

Any decision on whether to apply for a Rent Repayment Order will be made in accordance with our Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy.

For further information, please see the government’s guidance on Rent Repayment Orders under the Housing and Planning Act 2016