There has been an on-going debate in the UK government as to whether a national landlord accreditation scheme to be put in place in order to ensure that all private rented housing is at a certain standard, and if they aren’t landlords could face losing their licences. Some landlords have already voiced their disapproval to the idea, especially as it would mean that landlords may have to depend on their landlord insurance more heavily whilst their houses are void and undergoing maintenance works.
However, some local authorities are already planning on introducing voluntary landlord accreditation schemes such as Sheffield Council, who are concerned over the standards of private rented housing for many tenants throughout the city. Due to the fact that so many people can no longer afford to get on the property ladder, homes provided by private landlords is a growing sector in Sheffield, and some council members are concerned that certain homes’ standards are below that of council houses, meaning that the tenants are paying more and generally getting less. Council houses in Sheffield are currently undergoing a £700 million revamp, and it is expected for private landlords to also improve the properties in their housing portfolios.
Discussing the scheme, Sheffield Council leader Councillor Julie Dore said: “I would like private-rented housing to have tighter regulation but legislation is something we have no control over. What we are proposing is to set up a responsible landlord accreditation scheme. The plan would be that landlords have their homes inspected and given accreditation. When people are looking to rent a home, they will see which properties are approved under the scheme and choose those homes rather than others. As more landlords join up those who don’t will have less custom so the hope would be that they get involved, too, and standards are increased across the board.”
However, there have criticisms of the scheme, with Nick Riddle, a chartered surveyor from the Sheffield-based property firm ELR saying: “I don’t think the idea will make any difference. If it’s not compulsory why would a landlord sign up to have to pay another administration fee. There are plenty of accreditation schemes out there already such as through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and ARLA, which we insist our landlords are signed up to. There are less-scrupulous landlords out there but what’s the incentive to join the council’s scheme?”