Council opens door to new landlord accreditation scheme

31 Jul 2013 @ 3.33 pm
| News

 
Issued by City of York Council

A project to support the improvement of standards in York’s private rented accommodation sector has been agreed by City of York Council.

The new YorProperty scheme is voluntary and landlords and / or agents can sign up for accreditation if they agree to meet certain standards which promote safe accommodation. Once accepted, properties of accredited members will be marketed on a branded website, supported by City of York Council.

The aim behind accreditation is to provide landlords with information and skills to build successful businesses, to help tenants identify safe, high quality accommodation and for self-certification of private rented properties to dominate.

As the scheme comprises an element of self-regulation on the parts of landlords and letting agents, 10% of properties registered with the scheme will be inspected annually to ensure the validity of the scheme.

Accreditation will be for one of two standards: YorProperty Standard or YorProperty Plus Standard. Members will be encouraged to train to further their knowledge of landlords’ responsibilities and best practise, and to follow a code of practice. Compliance with the scheme will ensure that:

  • landlords, letting agents, tenants and local residents enjoy the benefits of good property conditions, competent management standards and considerate neighbourly behaviour
  • accredited members will be able to advertise their properties on the scheme’s website because they meet certain standards
  • misunderstandings and disputes are reduced and, where problems do occur, they are more promptly resolved.

The scheme is planned to become self-financing through the £50 entry level membership fee and a property fee based on the numbers owned or managed by a member.

A number of local landlords have already expressed an interest in joining the scheme which is set to go live in September.

Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Care, said: “The 2011 census recorded a total of 14,980 households (17.9%) were living in private rented accommodation in York.

“Such high demand can make it difficult for tenants to differentiate between a good landlord or agent, an amateur or a potential rogue.

“While the vast majority of landlords in York are professional in their approach, there are many who do not fully understand the sector’s legal framework and unwittingly break the law.

“It is likely that there are a small number of rogues – both landlords and agents – who wilfully exploit the landlords they represent, and their tenants.

“To support the sector as a whole, this scheme will introduce clear minimum standards, and improve the choices people make about private renting.

“At the same time it will improve the information and support available to help landlords raise standards and help already good, professional landlords differentiate themselves in this important, growing sector.”

Interested landlords and agents should contact the council by email or on 01904 551563.