Southwark Council are proposing with a consultation to rate Private Sector landlords by a grading of ‘Gold’ and ‘Silver’ standard.
There are three sets of criteria to both standards comprising the landlord themselves, the standard of the property and the tenancies they offer. There are discounts available on the selective licencing costs, but you must read what is expected to attain each standard first especially the tenancy agreement section!
Gold will be for landlords who meet the following standards for the property:
- Outdoor spaces to be clean and safe with adequate fencing and paved areas.
- Double glazed windows.
- Draft proofing to external doors
- Fixed central heating system
- Fixed TV Ariel point
- Working landline phone and access to the internet for an initial period of time from the ‘move in’ date.
- Appliances provided are not more than 8 years old.
- New toilet seat to be fitted at the start of each tenancy
- Gas and electricity supplies to be live at start of tenancy (landlord to notify service suppliers of the new tenants)
- Walls, and where necessary ceilings, to be freshly painted at the start of a new tenancy
- Copies of the latest fire risk assessment available either online, on the landlords or agents website, or given to the tenants directly
- Walk through before moving in date with tenant to:a.Agree meter readings for them to use when the bills are transferred to them. b.Advise of any local parking restrictions c.Show them where local amenities are
Gold Landlords must be:
- Willing to accept tenants in receipt of benefits(with fast track access to the benefits team if there are issues with payments etc.)
- Accept tenants referred by the council with current homelessness status
Silver will be for landlords who meet the following standards for the property:
- Thoroughly and deeply cleaned at the beginning of any tenancy, including carpets and flooring, bathrooms and kitchens
- All furnishings to be deep cleaned before each new tenancy in furnished properties
- Provide white goods -Appliances provided in a good state of repair and clean.
- Wall, floor, ceilings and fixtures in a good state of repair, clean and in reasonable decorative order
- Fire Safety Risk Assessments carried out
- Have a carbon monoxide detector in each room where there is a gas appliance or solid fuel appliance
- Have an Energy Performance Certificate of D and above (requirement is E)
- Have a gas service and repair contract (when there are gas appliances in the property)
- Kitchens no more than 20 years old and include adequate cooking, food storage and preparation surfaces adequate for the number of users.
- Bathrooms must be no more than 20 years old and in good repair and easy to keep clean with no porous or damaged surfaces and adequate splash-backs
- Have adequate security measures installed i.e. sound and secure windows, frames and glazing with locks. External doors must be sound and secure with adequate locks to comply with BS 362112. Walk through before moving in date showing the tenant: a.where the meters are b.location of gas and water valves for emergency purposes and details of emergency contacts
Silver Landlords must be:
- A member of a landlords association (or have a housing related professional qualification)
- Accredited and have a NALS accredited letting and managing agent (where necessary)
- In possession of a landlords insurance
The Tenancy requirements are even more draconian and difficult to comply with 3 and 7 year tenancy agreements.
Gold Standard Tenancy:
- Agreement for the tenant to redecorate without seeking permission (can put clauses in the agreement with restrictions i.e. not painting rooms black)
- Agreement for tenant to hang pictures and add shelving without prior consent (can add clauses with restrictions so that it does only allow shelving or pictures and not more extensive DIY projects)
- Agreement for the tenant to use own furnishings in a furnished property
- Agreements for tenants to utilize any outdoor spaces and plant existing borders with plants and vegetables without seeking permission.
- Allow tenants to use storage areas such as attics, lofts,cellars and sheds where safe to do so.
- Have a ‘pets considered’ clause. Where you can allow a tenant to have a pet on a case by case basis but stipulate and advertise as accepting certain pets with conditions.
- Offer continuous occupation of up to 7 years to tenants. Agreed period of occupation with any tenant must be in writing and include any dates on which the rent may be reviewed confirming that any rent increases will be no more than the Retail Price Index or Consumer Price Index at that time. Tenancies can be AST’s or periodic with break clauses at agreed intervals.
- Agreement to not use Section 21 (no reason eviction proceedings) but only seek eviction for breach of tenancy contract
- Agreement to enter into council supported mediation before taking action to terminate tenancy where there are issues with the tenant’s behaviour
- A schedule of conditions and/or inventory appropriate to the property which includes photos signed by both parties
- Provide references for tenants wishing to terminate, or not renew, their tenancy
Silver Standard Tenancy:
- Offer continuous occupation of up to 3 years to tenants. Agreed period of occupation with any tenant must be in writing and include any dates on which the rent may be reviewed confirming that any rent increases will be no more than the Retail Price Index or Consumer Price Index at that time. Tenancies can be AST’s or periodic with break clauses at agreed intervals.
- A written rental agreement: this must always be provided before the resident occupies the property and will include the following: a.The rent and key terms. b.Frequency of payment. c.The period of tenancy d.Information regarding the deposit and how the deposit is protected. e.A clear description of which party is responsible for paying; council tax, utility bills, phone, broadband, satellite TV or other media services and any other regular charges known to affect the letting. f.The period of notice required and how the letting will be terminated.
- Reasonable notice of access: except in case of an emergency, landlords should give the tenant at least 24 hours notice, in writing or by the residents preferred means and stating reasons when access to the property is required by the landlord, contractor or agent.
- A tenants pack that includes the following: a.A copy of the How to rent: the checklist for renting in England (available from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent) b.A schedule of conditions and/or inventory appropriate to the property concerned signed by both parties
- Information on council services available to the tenant.This would include: a.information on how to report a landlord to the council for non-compliance with basic or gold standard requirements, b.mediation and tenancy advice c.contacts and advice on the council’s private renter’s union d.timetables for waste collections from the property. e.bulk waste vouchers and how to arrange for bulk waste removal
- Contact details for the landlord/agent/manager given to tenants with a written procedure for reporting disrepairs with timescales for responses from the agent/landlord depending on severity of the problem (i.e. urgent issues such as leaks or items that could be considered to be dangerous, to be dealt with within 24 hours or 3 working days depending on the severity of the problem. These include the failure of core facilities in the property heating, hot water, windows and doors, electrical problems are examples. Other issues should be dealt with within 30 days).
Southwark Council Consultation Overview says:
“We are consulting on proposals to introduce a Gold and Silver Standard for the private rented sector (PRS), with a view to improving standards across the sector.
The PRS now makes up a quarter of the housing in Southwark, and plays an important role in meeting the housing needs of residents.
There are different types of landlord operating within this market: rogue and criminal landlords; inexperienced, reluctant or accidental landlords; and professional, responsible landlords. All these types of landlord require a different approach by the council. The council’s focus has been on enforcing against rogue landlords, with steps also taken to educate the inexperienced and provide support to the professional.
There is now an opportunity to recognise landlords who already provide a better service than the one required by law, encourage other landlords to achieve a higher standard, and give tenants a better idea of the standard of accommodation that they should be offered.
We are proposing to introduce a Gold Standard for those landlords who meet the quality criteria set out in the document attached below. These criteria recognise good practices that go beyond legal requirements. Incentives for achieving the Gold Standard are also set out in the document.
We are also proposing to introduce a Silver Standard, as a midway step for landlords as they improve their properties and the tenancies they offer. The criteria and incentives for the Silver Standard are also set out in the document attached below.”
The consultation closes 12th May and if you wish to give your views Click Here