Landlord Accreditation – what’s the point?

by Readers Question

11:48 AM, 6th December 2012
About 8 years ago

Landlord Accreditation – what’s the point?

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Landlord Accreditation – what’s the point?

Landlord Accreditation - what's the point?We have been asked by Peter Lewis, Chairman of Devon Landlords Association to share his question about the validity of Landlord Accreditation. I’m sure that the Accredited Landlord readers and trainers amongst the Property118 community will have some interesting responses and this could well make for a lively debate. If you want to follow this debate remember to add your email address in the box at the foot of this article.

Peter wrote:-

“I see many organisations offering Landlord Accreditation but the more I come across the process the more I wonder what value there is in it for the average landlord. Yes, I see that it provides a good background to the lettings business and will help stop some landlords making costly mistakes but what else is there in it for them?

I have discussed the value of Landlord Accreditation with a number of individuals in different local authorities (LAs) and frankly they have very little to offer in terms of benefits to landlords for completing the process.

We know that LAs are strapped for cash and one Authority had the temerity to suggest that they would encourage their social tenants in the direction of accredited landlords, oh yes, with a 10% reduction on basic LHA as the LAs administrative fee! Come on LAs, get real. You may need us but at the moment and for a long time to come most of us do not need you.

So if any informed readers in the community can shed a realistic light on why we should seek Landlord Accreditation please let me know and inform us all of the associated benefits we can expect as a consequence of passing the tests to gain Accredited Landlord status? Oh, and don’t forget the bit about needing to belong to an Association to gain long term training credits to maintain the process. Who needs it when belonging to a good Landlords Association does most if not all of that for you anyway and keeps most of us below the Local Authority charges radar.

Peter Lewis,

Chairman

Devon Landlords’ Association”



Comments

Mark Alexander

18:25 PM, 6th December 2012
About 8 years ago

Hi Peter, I wish Landlord Accreditation had been available and compulsory when I started out in 1989. I was clueless, as are most landlords starting out - we don't know what we don't know. That's why so many newbie landlords get ripped off with training courses which teach them immoral tricks to build property portfolio and absolutely nothing about how to be a good landlord.

After 23 three years in the business what I do know, despite having learned a lot of expensive lessons, is that I still have a lot to learn and enjoy doing so.

Given the choice between compulsory licensing of landlords or compulsory Landlord Accreditation I would vote for Compulsory Landlord Accreditation and CPD every day of the week.

It's the inspired maturer generally that earn us all a bad reputation. Get them trained up before they are allowed to become landlords and that will, in time, enable the authorities to deal with the real criminals operating in this sector.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

19:26 PM, 6th December 2012
About 8 years ago

Peter I am speaking at the London and south East London landlord's show tomorrow on this very topic. Like Mark I am a believer in landlord accreditation and education being the main obstacle for novice and amateur landlords who have grown so much in numbers recently.

Councils have to offer so much more if they want to entice landlords to work with them. I find landlords simple souls, they just want the rent paid and the property treated well. It's the council mindset that needs to change.

Luckily I am being seconded out of my TRO post to start just such a new team in my council. One that offers landlords all the facilities at our disposal, that only a council can, direct HB payments, hotline to HB, surveyors, legal services, mediation, tenancy sustainment, training, grants, cheap loans and all delivered with a smile.....ok, maybe we'll struggle with the last one

Simon Dowse

21:34 PM, 6th December 2012
About 8 years ago

I think a distinction between DIY landlords and landlords
who use agents to manage their properties is needed. I fall into the latter
group and really wouldn’t want to have to become an “accredited landlord” as I
will gain little from it – this is what I pay my agents for.

I appreciate that it is still a good thing for me to have
some knowledge of the system but having a full time job doesn’t give me the
time to spend becoming accredited or doing on-going CPD. I can learn what I
need from the internet or from my agents very easily as and when required.

Another point that occurs to me is that of portability – i.e.
will my “accreditation” be accepted by every LA in the country – or will I need
a different accreditation for each LA area in which I own a house?

The problem with accreditation and/or licensing is that the “problem
landlords” are the ones who are most likely not to sign up – so it just becomes
a burden on the “decent landlords” and has little effect on the criminals.

18:00 PM, 7th December 2012
About 8 years ago

Here in Scotland we're proud to run the national Landlord Accreditation Scheme. The partners in the scheme are the Scottish Association of Landlords, Scottish Land and Estates (rural landlords), the Scottish Government and the majority of Scotland's 32 local authorities.

Being a national scheme, one single accreditation with our scheme is valid in all of Scotland's local authority areas. This makes it a lot simpler for landlords like this writer/member, operating in five different LA areas. This seemed to us to be the best way forward when we launched in 2008 but then we have fewer authorities in Scotland plus we have a set of national Core Standards which are the benchmark for accreditation.

The most popular benefits of Accreditation are reduced fees on our landlord/agent t training courses and the marketing advantage of being able to badge yourself as Accredited ie having met the "Core Standards". For a full list of benefits please see our website or contact us. Always delighted to provide more information.

How we work it here in Scotland is that the "Core Standards" training courses are free of charge to you as a member of the Scottish Association of Landlords, as a membership benefit. Accredited landlords have a reduced fee if they are not also members, but membership is the way most go. Training is open to all, regardless of Accreditation or membership status. It is very popular. Indeed we are adding more courses all the time to meet demand.

There is no "burden" on Scottish landlords to become accredited as it's free of charge for landlords here to accredit. providing they meet the standards. There is a fee for letting agents on a sliding scale according to number of properties managed. To keep up your Accreditation you must attend at least one Core Standards training course per year. That is approx 3 hours per year to invest in yourself and your letting business. We believe any landlord however part time, can manage that, to keep up with legislation and refresh their knowledge. In fact, we'd argue if you won't invest that much time, should you be thinking seriously about whether you should be letting DIY?

Letting agents in Scotland have the benefit of the LAS logo as a kitemark when they are accredited. That allows them to market themselves ahead of the pack and offers some reassurance to tenant and landlords clients in this unregulated market.

Accreditation is more and more being sought after by tenants and landlord clients as well as outside agencies. ie Scotland's accredited agents can market on Rightmove too by virtue of their Accreditation. We have a property search function on the Accreditation website for tenants to seek properties let by Accredited agents.

I hope this helps to explain the point we see to accreditation in Scotland as part of presenting a positive professional trade, something we can all be proud to be part of in meeting housing need whilst running our businesses as landlords and/or letting agents.

Compulsory licensing? Unnecessary. Instead invest in affordable, accessible training - we think that is the key.

Any benefits that a local authority can offer to accredited landlords/agents are to be welcomed with open arms. The best authorities already engage positively with the PRS and invest in their Accreditation partnerships and we'd encourage all to follow suit.

Thanks and best wishes
Scottish Association of Landlords. / Landlord Accreditation Scotland

13:07 PM, 8th December 2012
About 8 years ago

hi everyone, this is without doubt a problem for us all. the reasons are not as obvious.

1; each LA have their own ideas what accreditation should be. there is a base line but then we have add-ons and mission creep.

2; more work and additional costs for us without any visible gain.

3; as these costs can only be met by the tenants, we are then adding additional financial strain on those that can lease afford it. this means tenants will look for cheaper accommodation. and where do you get cheaper accommodation ?? from the hidden landlord sector. those that the LA are unaware of.

now think of TRIPADVISOR.

I'm a hotelier and my business is recommendation driven. the feedback we get govens the clients we get. if we got only bad feedback, we would have to lower our rates to justify what the clients don't get. therefore we would only get the' bad' clients. ( they're not bad really, just called the dirty boot brigade for a reason )

on the other hand, if our feedback was tickatibo, we could charge more for the very opposite reason ; for what the client does get for the money.

this, I believe, is the way forward for landlords.

the result would be = good landlords get good tenants and bad landlords get bad tenants.

Darwin called it Natural Selection

now look at letrent.co.uk this has just started up with this very purpose in mind. it has a feedback facility for the guests and tenants.

I do hope Mark isn't too upset by my plug for letrent, but this is exactly what it was designed for.

alan wetherall

12:46 PM, 9th December 2012
About 8 years ago

Hi
As a landlord of three years with 16 tenants I felt the need
to be accredited even though I was a NLA member and attended a lot of their
meetings. I signed up with EMLA (East midlands landlords association). What a
mistake. They require to come and complete a 26 point health & safety risk assessment
of 10% of your houses. Mine where ok but failed on silly points but the
surveyor had to find something. (For example: - a dripping outside tap dripping
into a drain) I also attended a one day
seminar which I can honestly say was the most boring 8 hrs of my life. It was
just bureaucracy gone daft

When I mentioned the fact that I was an accredited landlord to
prospective tenants they showed a complete lack of concern, they just wanted a nice
clean well presented accommodation at a fair price.

Would I do it again or recommend it. NO WAY. My local
authority does not react differently between accredited and non accredited and
does nothing about the landlords in my area who cram 11 people into a house. At
least with my EMLAS accreditation I don’t have to go through the same rigmarole
to be accredited with the NLA. (But I will have to go to their meetings to keep
my points up)

Alan Wetherall

10:22 AM, 10th December 2012
About 8 years ago

I would hope that an accredited landlord would be a lower risk for building insurance and RGI, however I have not heard about lower rates for accredited landlord. Likewise if accreditations lead to landlords having fewer disputes with tenants, I would expect a large discount on deposit protection for being accredited.

Therefore I can see the value of accreditation over just doing the training.


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