A while ago we blogged here about the the idea of a landlord accreditation scheme. Waltham Forest council in London have gone one better than that with a rental property accreditation scheme instead. This scheme is different to what landlords may have been expecting as it focuses on the state of the property first whilst trying to help newer landlords who may not be fully aware of the rules to understand what is involved when renting out their properties.
The council is looking for standards of safety, sanitation, decor and insulation. It aims to help landlords and tenants. Currently it is voluntary and is primarily concerned with issues such as repairs and legal duties of the landlord. In return it will promote accredited landlords who will be able to display a quality kite mark on their properties and advertising.
The council believe that this is the first of its kind to be launched in the London boroughs, and it has already had approximately 4,000 properties assessed since January as part of the build-up to the project’s launch. A nominal fee of £50 will be charged to those landlords wishing to take part. The council hopes to raise standards of accommodation and better awareness of landlord responsibility.
So Whats Involved?
One thing I have not seen mentioned is how long each inspection is valid for, and how often re-checks will be required by the council. On the surface this does seem like a good idea. Here are some of the things in the council document that homes will need to have;
- Outside and communal areas to be safe, well lit, and debris free.
- Guttering to be not leaking etc, well insulated loft, lagged pipes.
- Various door safety items, including some fire doors, five lever locks and safety glass.
- No damp, mold or condensation ( some allowed if not a health hazard ).
- Clean decorative standard throughout.
- All habitable rooms to have glazing for light issues.
- Gas central heating or economy 7 not less than 5 years old.
- Electrical and gas safety checks yearly.
- Various minimum levels of tiling in kitchen and bathrooms.
- Kitchen units to be less than 10 years old and have enough plug sockets.
- All floor coverings to be clean and defect free (!)
- Minimum size standards for rooms
I also wonder whether there will be allowances for wear and tear or damage caused by tenants. The key issue will be whether these accresdited properties will be checked back upon, and how often, as the scheme will be pointless without that in my opinion. On the whole though I do like the idea.
So there we have it. What do you think about this scheme? Please comment below with your ideas and thoughts. Are you a landlord who has joined the scheme? We would love to hear your thoughts