The Mayor of London Boris Johnson this week launched the capital’s first ever rental standard, a city-wide badge of accreditation which aims to help millions of Londoners rent with confidence, and to give the city’s 300,000 landlords peace of mind that they are complying with the law and doing the right thing.
The London Rental Standard brings together seven landlord accreditation schemes, which will operate under a single framework. The badge will be awarded to all landlords and letting agents who meet a set of significant core commitments set by the Mayor. These outline a minimum level of service that renters should expect including transparent fees, better property conditions, better communication between landlords and tenants, improved response times for repairs and maintenance, and protected deposits.
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. Alongside this we are investing huge sums in more homes specifically to rent, and helping Londoners who want to buy into low cost home ownership, as well as a raft of other measures to help provide the homes hard working Londoners need.”
The first certificate of accreditation was awarded to private landlord Rob Hunter at his property in Haringey which is shared by a group of professionals and final year students.
Hunter said: “I am honoured to have been selected as the first landlord to receive the Mayor’s ‘London Rental Standard’ badge, which we hope will go on to be recognised by tenants all over London as a sign of quality, as well as incentivise landlords to consistently provide good quality accommodation.”
"This is a significant step forward in raising the standard of rental accommodation in the capital. It will encourage more tenants to choose an accredited landlord over one that is not, make landlords more accountable, help them understand their responsibilities and recognise best practice."
The Mayor has partnered with two organisations to offer financial incentives to landlords to sign up to the London Rental Standard. Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited will offer free emergency home cover (worth £59.50) of up to £500 when you buy your buildings insurance through Endsleigh, and My Deposits will offer half price membership to the My Deposit protection scheme.
A significant public awareness campaign also launches this week to encourage landlords and letting agents to sign up to the London Rental Standard, and the Mayor has set a target to accredit 100,000 landlords and agents by 2016.
However tenants’ campaign group Generation Rent dismissed the scheme as a waste of money.
Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent, said: “This expensive vanity scheme will not help a single tenant. There is no voluntary landlord scheme that attracts more than 6% of eligible landlords. The fact is only landlords who do everything right already will join the scheme, so their tenants won’t benefit, while those with bad landlords who ignore the scheme won’t benefit either. On top of that, this scheme duplicates work that many London boroughs are already doing, and wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process.”