Boris Johnson launched the London Rental Standard this week, a voluntary accreditation scheme for letting agents and landlords. Those who comply with the scheme’s standards (outlined here) and take a one day course will receive their ‘Boris Badge’ of accreditation.
It is similar to existing schemes but the hope is that the weighty backing of the Mayor and greater publicity will make this the norm across the capital and a scheme which could ultimately be replicated across the country.
The London Rental Standard should improve the situation for landlords, tenants and agents alike. Healthy competition will be fuelled by an increasing awareness among tenants that there is a specific standard to which landlords can be held. The complaint that there should also be a tenant accreditation scheme, while an interesting idea in itself, is slightly beside the point when considering the benefits of the landlord and agent scheme. Good landlords have nothing to fear and bad landlords will be shown up and forced to make improvements. And there is a further point that well-intentioned landlords who happily sign up may well discover there are ways to improve their business. This can only be a good thing.
It is also worth considering that if the scheme does ultimately improve standards, it should fend off much more onerous regulation, such as rent control and compulsory licensing.
Some critics have suggested that as a voluntary scheme that only reinforces good landlords, it will do little to help vulnerable tenants suffering at the hands of rogue landlords. This is not a legitimate criticism of the London Rental Standard, but of policies addressing rogue landlords in general. If the scheme gains enough momentum, lax landlords will have to improve. Out and out rogue landlords, who target vulnerable tenants with ‘beds in sheds’, are a different kettle of fish, requiring separate and more specific action.
The overall success of the scheme hinges on enough people signing up for it to become the norm among landlords and letting agents in London. Here are the official providers (you only need to choose one!):
- The London Landlord Accreditation Scheme (www.londonlandlords.org.uk)
- The National Landlords Association (www.landlords.org.uk)
- The Residential Landlords Association (www.rla.org.uk)
If you are already a member of one of these accreditation schemes, you will not be automatically transferred to the London Rental Standard but it will be much easier for you to sign up. Simply speak to your provider!“Boris Johnson chairing meeting” by Stephen Lock is licensed under CC