Councils Send Mixed Messages Over Voluntary Rental Accreditation

Most landlords agree that any action to raise standards for tenants in private rented homes does a power of good. 

But councils in London and Leeds are sending mixed messages. 

Within days of Leeds announcing a new rental standard for the city, London's Mayor Sadiq Khan had axed the London Rental Standard. He explained that the measure had failed to benchmark standards for renters and that landlords did not flock to join for accreditation.

“Although many letting agents became accredited to the standard, these agents were predominantly already affiliated to professional bodies, suggesting the scheme had minimal impact in raising standards amongst the worst letting agents and landlords. As a result the current administration feels that there would be limited value in continuing to dedicate scarce Greater London Assembly resources to this project," said Khan.

Then-mayor Boris Johnson started the London scheme in 2014. 

ARLA says a lack of awareness of the standard led to the scheme's closure. Khan also announced that a London-wide database of bad landlords would launch later this year. Meanwhile, the Leeds Rental Standard offers landlords several benefits, including a discount on joining the accreditation scheme, access to council housing officers, parking and free rubbish tipping.

"Leeds City Council wants to reward responsible landlords who own good quality and well managed accommodation," says the scheme promotional material. 

"Accreditation gives landlords awards for providing a quality service. It’s a way of recognising good landlords who demonstrate skills in property and tenancy management. Accreditation offers landlords a wealth of knowledge, advice and support in addition to financial discounts and benefits."

The Leeds Rental Standard acts as an umbrella for other private sector accreditation schemes.

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Accreditation Schemes

Membership of accreditation schemes is voluntary. They enable landlords to demonstrate that their properties comply with legal standards and good management practice through the accreditation status.