Boris’s new London Rental Standard

by Property 118

4 years ago

Boris’s new London Rental Standard

Make Text Bigger
Boris’s new London Rental Standard

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has launched a new voluntary accreditation scheme for Landlords and Letting agents. It is called the “London Rental Standard” and an accreditation badge will be issued upon successful completion of a one day course.

This scheme is designed to improve the quality and standard of rental accommodation for tenants in the London boroughs. Mr Johnson said, “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. This standard aims to improve the experience of everyone involved, from landlord to tenant, with a clear set of good practice rules.”

The accreditation scheme for Landlords includes:

  1. Written rental agreement must always be provided and should include the rent terms,
    frequency of payment, and the period of tenancy or license.
  2. Deposit must be protected, the amount must be specified and a copy of how the deposit is
    protected must be provided to the tenant.
  3. Contact details providing the tenant with their contact details including their address and
    two contact telephone numbers (mobile and landline) and an email address. Landlords should endeavour to respond to tenant communication in a prompt manner.
  4. Availability – landlords should always be contactable and must respond within a reasonable
    period of time. If unavailable, tenants should be informed and given alternative contact
    details.
  5. Reasonable notice of access given – except in case of an emergency, landlords should give the tenant at least 24 hours notice, in writing and stating reasons, when access to the property is required by the landlord, contractor or agent.
  6. Emergency repairs should be dealt with or made safe as soon as practically possible
    and normally on the same day that a landlord is notified. Emergency repairs are defined as any defect where there is a risk of danger to the health, safety and security of the tenant or a third party on the premises, or that affects the structure of the building adversely.
  7. Urgent repairs wherever possible these should be dealt with within three working days of a
    landlord being notified.
  8. Property conditions – landlords must ensure that properties comply with legal requirements,
    including having no category 1 hazards or significant/multiple category 2 hazards. Where
    relevant, properties must also comply with licensing schemes and landlords will always comply with statutory notices served by a local authority.
  9. Energy efficiency – landlords must work towards compliance with duties imposed upon them
    by the Energy Act 2011, especially related to requests for energy efficiency improvements by
    tenants and in relation to low ratings in energy performance.
  10. End of tenancy the deposit should be returned promptly and in full, minus verified costs
    that are chargeable to the tenant’s deposit. Landlords should provide tenant references if
    requested.
  11. Complaints – landlords must respond to tenant complaints promptly and accreditation
    schemes must have their own complaints process in place if complaints are escalated.
  12. Dealing with tenants – landlords must always act in a fair, reasonable and professional
    manner in their dealings with tenants, and must not discriminate in their dealings with
    prospective and/or existing tenants or treat them less favorably than others because of their
    colour, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, age, sex, marital status, sexuality, politics, or their responsibility for dependents.

For Letting Agents the scheme includes the above and the following:

  1. Fees and charges – landlords and tenants should be provided with a written statement setting out services to be provided and charges. Tenant charges should be published, preferably on a website.
  2. Insurance – maintain professional indemnity insurance and have in place client money protection insurance cover through a designated scheme for example RICs, ARLA/NAEA, Law Society or NALs.
  3. Pre-tenancy to give clients advice on the level of rent they can expect to pay, arrange for relevant safety checks of properties and inform clients of defects, provide and fill in a rental agreement and take a deposit where instructed.
  4. During tenancy to collect the rent if instructed, keeping a separate clients account to hold all money, belong to a client money protection scheme for example SAFEagent.
  5. End of tenancy togive clients advice on their options including reviewing the rent, serving correct notice on the tenant, dealing with return of the deposit in a prompt manner.
  6. Complaints – maintain and operate a consumer complaints procedure and offer a means of independent consumer redress such as being a member of an appropriate ombudsman.

Critics of the London Rental Standard have said that it will only cover good landlords and that tenants need protecting from the landlords that would never sign up to a voluntary scheme.

London Assembly Member Darren Johnson said “the mayor of London’s standard gives tenants no real protections against landlords evicting in retaliation for complaints, or against big rent hikes, and fails to ban outrageous letting agent fees.”

However Shelter CEO Campbell Robb said, “it’s good to see that the Mayor has listened to the thousands of people who joined Shelter in saying that renting in London just isn’t working. This scheme will be one step in the right direction to ensuring that all renters in the capital can find the decent home they need.”

On the back of the London Rental Standard, MyDeposit is offering a half price deal to accredited landlords for its deposit scheme.London Rental Standard

Comments

Neil Patterson

4 years ago

It is good to see a positive move that does not unilaterally tie Landlords down in compulsory red tape and expense. IMHO

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

I'd be happy to do the course if I was a Landlord in London.

This is a lot like the LLAS, NLA, MLAS and other accreditation schemes so I hope, like the others, this one is passportable.

If I was a tenant living in London the Boris Badge would certainly go some way towards inspiring confidence and if I had the choice of two similar properties, one of which the landlord/agent had the Boris badge, guess which one I'd go for?

As the founder of Property118 I am happy to endorse this initiative and I hope landlords and agents will get behind it.
.

Tony Atkins

4 years ago

Why is there no Accreditation Scheme for tenants? Landlords need protecting from tenants failing to pay the rent, damaging the property, and behaving in any number of anti-social ways, but somehow the damage done to landlords by rogue tenants is never thought worthy of comment or enforcement action by the authorities.

While I wholeheartedly agree with agents having client money protection, I cannot obtain it for my letting agency without having an accountant do my books. I self certify, being self employed and a very small business, and this is not good enough apparently. Any suggestions?

Tony Atkins

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Maureen Pickering" at "28/05/2014 - 16:48":

Arguably accountants are not that expensive for simple accounts, and it would be to your benefit to have independently certified accounts if you ever want to seek a personal loan or mortgage, or consider going into business with someone else.

Certification by an accountant may also give landlords and tenants greater confidence that you are not going to run off with their money if they use you to handle deposits, rent payments and so on. I'm sure you wouldn't but there are plenty of examples of letting agents that have done this . . .

Would you get a better deal from an accountant if you had a chat with other small letting agents in a similar position and you offered her several new customers as a block of similar types of simple business?

An accountant might also handle your payroll and the payment of RTI income tax and so on for a minimal charge. Less paperwork for you!

Tony is right. TENANTS ACCREDITATION! Now this is the answer. We never really get to know our tenants. Some are good, some are bad. But, it always costs us as landlords. Can we at Property 118 start a campaign from us all to sign up to? I can start it up in Wales. This would make a massive difference for us Landlords. Anybody up for it?? Kevin

Yvette Newbury

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "28/05/2014 - 14:54":

Yes Mark this is passportable. In fact as an NLA Accredited landlord I am deemed to already have been accepted as passing the London Rental Standard (I will check any other details with NLA), other accrediation schemes will be acceptable for the London standard too. We are very pleased about this and see it as a step in the right direction for us to be able to show prospective tenants that we care for them and our properties. I do agree though, that it does nothing to stop the rogue landlords who will just carry on as they were!

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Yvette Newbury " at "29/05/2014 - 01:42":

Hi Yvette

This is fantastic news because it means that somebody with passion, commitment and common sense has managed to transfer their enthusiasm and logic to a person in power. We must not under-estimated the commitment that must have been required to achieve this. If I ever meet that person I owe him or her a drink - and so do all other GOOD Landlords.

I cannot over emphasise the importance of this achievement!

The power of the Boris badge will enable the best tenants to identify landlords who have taken the time and effort to connect with landlords to demonstrate their commitment to what they do. Good tenants will soon realise this and will seek out the badge holders. The market will begin to self-regulate, good tenants will find landlords and scum will be left to deal with scum - both landlords and tenants.

I appreciate the scheme concept is not new, however, with Boris Johnson's name attached to it there can be no doubt that it will get well publicised (it already is) and that was what has always been the hold-back for the education based accreditation model.

I suspect more people have heard about education based landlord accreditation in the last two days than the total for the preceding 5 years.

I've also heard that Boris detests the Newham model so it will be interesting to watch the results over the next 5 years. The winner could become a Prime Minister in time, but will it be Sir Robin Wales or Boris?
.

Neil Patterson

4 years ago

First Boris badge goes Rob Hunter at a property in Haringey

John Daley

4 years ago

I'd be interested to hear how tenant accreditation might work.

It has not been a popular idea with various stakeholders so far, but if landlords can show willing why can't tenants.

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

HMRC to clarify Stamp Duty Surcharge rules finally