Landlord Accreditation:

The London Rental Standard (LRS), which was a voluntary scheme introduced by the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson back in 2014, is set to close down. Despite all the effort that went into developing, promoting and administering the scheme, the new Mayor, Sadiq Khan has dropped it.

The scheme was supported by the landlord associations and the local authorities. The then Mayor’s vision of accrediting all residential landlords in London, working closely with the Mayor’s office in developing the London Rental Standard (LRS), aimed to drive improvements in property standards in the capital.

One year after its introduction over 14,100 landlords had voluntarily agreed to the LRS code of practice, including things such as a written rental agreement, protected deposit, and reasonable notice of access, minimum times for emergency and urgent repairs and property conditions that comply with legal requirements. But the Mayor wanted 100,000 of London’s 300,000 landlords to have agreed to the LRS by the following year, but it seems the target was being missed by a wide margin, perhaps through lack of promotion?

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The scheme developed a voluntary set of minimum standards that the Mayor expected from landlords, managing agents and letting agents that operate in London’s private rented sector. The aim of the London Rental Standard was to provide training and qualification schemes, appraise rental properties and generally raise professional standards in the capital’s private rented sector by providing a consistent standard of accreditation to consumers and a vehicle for increasing the number of accredited landlords and agents.

However, the new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has now announced a new proposal to instead introduce a database of rogue agents and landlords.

In a letter to ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive David Cox, the Mayor of London announced that the scheme is to be scrapped, saying:

“Although many letting agents became accredited to the LRS, these agents were predominantly already affiliated to professional bodies, suggesting the scheme had minimal impact in raising standards amongst the worst letting agents and landlords. As a result the current administration feels that there would be limited value in continuing to dedicate scarce GLA resources to this project.”

ARLA says that,

“While ARLA Propertymark members signed up and complied with the scheme in vast numbers, ultimately lack of awareness about the scheme among residents in London, along with its voluntary nature limited its ability to provide regulatory oversight to the private rented sector.

“Propertymark continues to campaign for mandatory regulation of the lettings industry combined with appropriately resourced enforcement in order to tackle rogue landlords and letting agents and poor housing standards.”

The LRS website has been taken down by the Greater London Authority and the Mayor has ordered that members of the scheme remove reference to LRS and destroy all materials bearing the LRS badge by 26 July 2017, this includes websites, stationery and promotional materials.

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