Please Note: This Article is 10 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Plans for the biggest ever overhaul of the UK’s privately rented housing sector will soon be launched … not by the government … not by legislators … but by landlords themselves.

The single most far-reaching move towards self-regulation comes from the Residential Landlords Association whose members own over 100,000 private rented properties throughout the UK.

The RLA is announcing a new initiative that will bring local authorities into partnership with responsible landlords who are committed to raising professional standards and providing good quality accommodation.

The ‘Residential Landlords Accreditation Scheme’ (RLAS) will be open to any landlord or property manager in England and Wales – irrespective of RLA membership – who wants to be part of a voluntary self-regulated group dedicated to improving standards in the private rented housing sector.

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RLAS is expected to roll out, nationally, from founding local authority partners in Blackpool, Wyre and the Fylde.

The intention is to give tenants better living conditions by providing higher standards of decent, safe homes.

And the RLA will provide a raft of support services to support landlords, help them share information, skills, experience, abilities and good practice.

“Over the last few years private rented sector landlords have been surrounded by an overwhelming increase in legislation, regulation and government reviews,” says RLA chairman Alan Ward. “Most of this has been unnecessary because we have always believed that self-regulation and closer partnerships between stakeholders is the key to improving standards of professionalism, property and reputation.

“There is no shortage of will to achieve this but this sort of organised framework is needed to create the partnerships that can foster better communication and understanding of mutual responsibilities between landlords, tenants and local authorities.”

The self-financing scheme will accredit landlords not properties – although accommodation will be inspected to ensure it complies with accepted criteria or can be upgraded within an agreed period.

A ‘National Accredited Landlord’ or “Nationally Accredited Managing Agent’ will have met the required personal standard as a ‘fit and proper person’ and agreed to strict rules about property condition, good management practice and fostering good relationships with tenants.

They will undergo training courses on managing different types of tenancy, using deposit schemes, health and safety, fire safety, risk assessment for residential hazards and landlord responsibilities such as repairs, maintenance, furnishings, kitchen, bathroom and toilet standards, electrical and gas installations and appliances, heating, lighting, ventilation, hygiene, waste disposal and complaints procedures.

A conditional commitment to ‘continual professional development’ will be expected every five years or accreditation could be revoked. Landlords and agents will be disciplined for lapses and the RLAS will have its own appeals procedure.

For tenants the scheme will offer a choice of landlords, with proven standards, who have accepted the RLA’s code of conduct, been rigorously vetted and professionally trained.

And local authorities will receive the co-operation of accredited landlords to support their strategic duty to provide quality, safe and healthy privately rented accommodation.

The Residential Landlords Association has made a heavy investment to set up an ‘arms length’ company that will manage the scheme, provide key training courses, and support services including a dedicated website and manned help desk.

“Raising the entire game can only benefit everyone involved – as well as contributing to more sustainable local communities,” says Alan Ward. “But even a better qualified generation of progressive landlords can’t achieve the result alone. This is a partnership issue and that is the only way to a successful conclusion.”

• The Residential Landlords Association is a leading national organisation with members owning over 100,000 properties in the UK’s professional private rented sector. The range of members’ services – on www.rla.org.uk – includes legal advice, insurance, financial services, credit referencing and training.

Please Note: This Article is 10 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The landlords registration scheme is just duplicating legislation already in place. Are the people lobbying in favour of it simply trying to make careers opportunities for themselves.

    Landlords already have to comply with gas and electrical regs, deposit schemes, energy performance certificate schemes, not to mention how to behave such as not entering properties without tenants permission etc etc etc etc.

    All these things are legal obligations and are worth while.

    As for bad tenants, they can do what they want with virtual impunity. If they refuse landlord entry to his property even if it\’s to inspect for damage or other problems, he needs to get a court order to enter. If they don\’t pay their rent it can take 6 months to get them out via the courts and the landlord will probably never get their rent or compensation for damage.

    Who\’d be a landlord !

  2. As general secretary of the Merseyside and Wirral Property Landlords Action Group, I am personally in favour of the proposed Mandatory Licensing Registration Scheme for all practising landlords. The Residential Lettings Industry as a whole is in need of an urgent and complete overhaul, but more importantly has to improve both its street credibility and professionalism as well. Where the problem lies is the current number of inexperienced and obvious un-prepared accidental landlords who have been forced to rent out their property because they cannot sell it.

  3. So, if what if for example someone gets a job away from their home and wants to let out their home, then they either have to go through all this accreditation nonsense which is just duplication of existing legislation, or let through some rip off agent.

    For me to attract decent tenants I have to maintain decent standards of my properties and treat the tenants properly or they would move after 6 months.

    What\’s wrong with that market force of consumer choice, along with existing legislation as a means to control standards ?

    Save accreditation schemes for slumlords that let out to unemployed layabouts and tarts that get pregnant to get a roof over their heads. I mean we wouldn\’t want those parasites living off our taxes to have poor living standards would we.

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