On 28th April 2014, the Mayor of London launched the capital’s first ever rental standard, a city-wide badge of accreditation, 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.
After two years of extensive consultation and preparation, the Mayor presented the first London Rental Standard certificate of accreditation to private landlord Rob Hunter at his property in Haringey which is shared by a group of professionals and final year students.
More than a quarter of London’s households now live in rented homes, predicted to rise to around 40 per cent by the mid-2020s. In the last ten years the number of families with children renting in London has risen 10 per cent to almost a third. Yet 85 per cent of landlords are not aware of core legislation that protects renters and 61 per cent have no professional management training.
The standard is the latest part of the Mayor’s comprehensive strategy for the private rented sector, which includes a new target to build US-style purpose-built rented homes, as part of efforts to increase supply and boost quality. This is the first time professional standards have been set for the whole sector in London, and will help more landlords and agents understand their responsibilities to their tenants and to equip them with the knowledge they need to protect themselves from mistakes which can incur hefty costs and leave tenants disgruntled.
The Mayor of London, Boris 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.”
Private landlord Rob Hunter, who is currently accredited by the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme and the National Landlords Association, 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."
Cameron Baverstock, one of Rob’s tenants in Haringey, said: “"I previously rented with a non-accredited landlord and this turned out to be a huge mistake. My housemates and I would sometimes spend weeks without hot water with the landlord responding slowly and poorly to complaints. With nobody to hold the landlord to account there was very little we could do. Living in one of Rob’s houses for the last two years or so, I’ve received a dramatically different level of service.
“With an accredited landlord I feel reassured that they will adhere to best practice set by a governing body, making life as a tenant much easier and hassle free. I will definitely be making sure the next landlord I use has the London Rental Standard so that I can be confident I’ll be receiving the service I expect."
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.
Endsleigh’s Lettings and Landlords Manager Marcus Latchford said: “With over 25 years’ experience in the private rental market Endsleigh is proud to be working with the Mayor to raise standards for the 1 in 4 Londoners renting their property privately. Knowing they are renting from an accredited landlord or letting agent gives tenants the peace of mind and reassurance that best practice is being followed. We want to reward landlords accredited through the London Rental Standard scheme and are pleased to offer FREE Home Emergency cover when they buy buildings insurance through Endsleigh - a must have piece of cover for landlords.”
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.
In time, the London Rental Standard will become an instantly recognisable feature of London’s lettings industry, helping Londoners to pick between the huge array of landlords and agents on offer in the capital.
Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb said: "Every day, more and more Londoners are finding themselves trapped in expensive, rundown and insecure rented properties, never sure of when their next rent rise will hit or when they might be evicted. At a time when 1 in 4 Londoners rents their home privately, this just isn't good enough. Far more needs to be done to ensure renters are protected from unscrupulous letting agents and rogue landlords who refuse to keep their properties safe and decent. It's good to see that the Mayor has listened to the thousands of people who joined Shelter in saying that renting in London just isn't working. This scheme will be one step in the right direction to ensuring that all renters in the capital can find the decent home they need."
The standard is one of a raft of measures the Mayor is pioneering to increase supply and reduce pressure on London’s private rented sector. The Mayor is supporting thousands of new high-quality, purpose-built homes to rent with large-scale schemes in Elephant and Castle and the Stratford supported by long term institutional investment. The Mayor has also created a search engine where Londoners can compare average market rents, secured vast sums from the government to help provide greater enforcement against criminal landlords including those who offer ‘beds in sheds’, and has successfully lobbied for an independent consumer complaints service to help protect tenants and landlords.
For more information about FREE Home Emergency from Endsleigh click here
For full FREE Home Emergency terms and conditions, click here