London gets rental standard for landlords
A new ‘rental standard’ for London has been launched today, as the mayor attempts to get a grip on the market for tenants.
The city’s 300,000 landlords will have to sign up for a badge of accreditation, but to get this they will have to sign up to a set of strict conditions.
These include a requirement for transparent fees, better communication with tenants, protected deposits and fast response times for repairs and maintenance.
“With more of London’s workforce and young families living in rented homes, this growing sector is vital to meeting this capital’s housing needs and must not be overlooked,” said Boris Johnson, mayor of London.
“This standard aims to improve the experience of everyone involved, from landlord to tenant, with a clear set of good practice rules.
“Alongside this we are investing huge sums in more homes specifically to rent, and helping Londoners who want to buy into low cost home ownership, as well as a raft of other measures to help provide the homes hard working Londoners need.”
Previously there were seven separate landlord accreditation schemes, but now all will operate under the same umbrella.
The changes have been two years in the making, with the mayor keen to ensure that the new scheme has a high take-up among landlords and thus becomes normal for tenants to expect.
Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “With more and more people living in the private rented sector – including more older people, more families with children and more vulnerable people from the housing waiting list – it’s vital that we look carefully at new ways to raise standards.”
However, she cautioned that there is a chance that the scheme would simply be ignored by the worst offenders, as it remains voluntary.
More than a quarter of all London households are now rented, but this is expected to go up to as much as 40 per cent by the mid-2020s, as high house prices force people to stay renting longer.
Private landlord Rob Hunter, the first landlord to receive the mayor’s ‘London Rental Standard’ badge, said that he hoped the badge would soon come to be seen as a sign of “quality”.
Cameron Baverstock, one of Rob’s tenants in Haringey, said: “”I previously rented with a non-accredited landlord and this turned out to be a huge mistake. My housemates and I would sometimes spend weeks without hot water with the landlord responding slowly and poorly to complaints.
“With nobody to hold the landlord to account there was very little we could do. Living in one of Rob’s houses for the last two years or so, I’ve received a dramatically different level of service.
“With an accredited landlord I feel reassured that they will adhere to best practice set by a governing body, making life as a tenant much easier and hassle free. I will definitely be making sure the next landlord I use has the London Rental Standard so that I can be confident I’ll be receiving the service I expect.”
The mayor has been under increasing pressure to help those in the rented sector, with the number of families with children up 10 per cent in the last ten years.
Currently 85 per cent of landlords are not aware of legislation that helps protect renters, and 61 per cent have no professional management training.
By Phil Scullion Follow @philscullion