A scheme which aims to improve the quality of privately rented student housing in Durham City has reached a key milestone.
The Durham Student Assured Housing Scheme (DSAHS) has welcomed its 100th member, just nine months after being launched to offer peace of mind to those seeking private rented accommodation.
The initiative was set up by Durham County Council in June last year and is a voluntary code for landlords of student accommodation in the city.
Supported by Durham University and recommended by Durham Students’ Union, it is initially to run for three years until May 2018.
Participating properties have to meet the scheme’s code of standards and the council’s criteria for houses in multiple occupation.
Each property is inspected by council officers before they can be assured, a unique feature of DSAHS that rivals similar national schemes.
So far all properties have been found to meet the scheme’s code of standards while repairs and improvements have been carried out to accommodation as a result of the initiative.
In a recent development, project bosses are now also working with StuRents, an online student accommodation search platform, to make it easier for people to find approved properties.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “It’s great that the Durham Student Assured Housing Scheme has reached 100 properties after being launched only nine month ago.
“It’s reassuring for students who have the daunting task of finding somewhere to live, whilst also giving landlords who have their properties up to standard a market advantage.
“The StuRents search makes it even easier for these properties to be found too.
“Lots of great work has been done so far and the scheme will continue to help raise the quality of student housing standards and management practices for at least the next couple of years.”
Brian Hill, a landlord among the 100 to have signed up to the initiative, also praises the scheme.
He said: “Joining the scheme ensures that the houses we let are at a recognised level of safety for the tenants and not just at the ‘it will do’ level often experienced by many student tenants.
“The inspectors were very helpful, explaining reasons and options where upgrades were required, and were always available for telephone advice if required.
“We now let our houses knowing that as well as being of a good standard decoratively they are also a safe and secure home for the tenants.”
Private landlords interested in signing up should visit www.durham.gov.uk/studenthousing or contact the council’s public health and housing team on 03000 261 016.