Liverpool City Council is owed more than £7m in rent arrears despite receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds in the last 12 months.
New information released ahead of the local authority’s strategic development and housing committee has detailed how much the city has failed to recoup from its tenants. A report by Mark Bourgeois, interim strategic director for city development, said the amount owed to Liverpool Council for rent had dropped by £840,000 but the authority’s coffers are still short to the tune of £7.1m.
Mr Bourgeois’ update comes weeks after the city’s former interim finance director said the council has more than £200m in outstanding debt that it does not expect to recover. In February, Ian Duncan wrote how the council had to set aside more than £270m to “cover the cost of known liabilities of previous years” during its most recent budget setting process.
Mr Duncan’s report said “by far the largest amounts” are for bad or doubtful debts. This amounts to almost £230m, according to the officer’s analysis, that Liverpool Council either must write off or does not expect it will get back.
Amid the other fees owed to the council include £7.1m by the ACC Liverpool group for what it described in a statement as historical debt relating to property transactions between 2015 and March 2020. Of that, £2.6m is in year trading sums.
Landlords Racked up council tax debts
A Liverpool Council spokesperson said the ACC Liverpool Group’s repayment plan form part of wider changes to the city’s governance and oversight of the venue following a review. In November, it was revealed how hundreds of landlords across Liverpool racked up council tax debts worth more than £1m after they were deemed vulnerable by the city council.
In a bid to tighten up its processes around collection of owed monies, it was confirmed months earlier the council was to rethink its council tax policies after they had become a self-created “obstacle.”
In July last year, the council renewed its two-year contract with enforcement agent services for the collection of debts owed to the council on the very same day the existing terms were due to run out. In January 2019, the authority agreed to enlist the services of debt collectors to round up funds owed around council tax, business rates and parking.