Private landlords are being encouraged to follow in the footsteps of the owners of over 1000 properties in County Durham and join the council’s accreditation scheme.
As well as providing obvious benefits for landlords and tenants, Durham County Council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme also improves wider communities by helping renovate run-down properties and bringing empty homes back into use.
Landlords who sign up to the voluntary scheme must meet a code of practice which ensures that tenants can rent with confidence. In return their properties are advertised on the Durham Key Options website – the online portal for social housing – giving them access to a waiting list of potential tenants. They also get access to a tenancy referencing service, receive updates on changes in landlord legislation and can also apply for the council’s empty property loan scheme which has so far provided nearly £1.5 million to bring abandoned houses back into use.
Landlord John Fox, who manages over 60 homes in the Consett area, said: “Being an accredited landlord is a real win/win situation. It helps me attract the best tenants and gives them peace of mind that our properties adhere to high standards set out in a signed agreement as part of the accreditation process.
“The biggest gripe for tenants is that some landlords don’t carry out repairs. With an accredited landlord tenants can be sure that all repairs are carried out as quickly as possible. There’s a council inspection programme for accredited properties and they all have to be safe and in a sound condition as well as meeting all current legal standards.
“Being accredited also means that when tenants apply for our houses, Durham County Council help with reference checks. Unsuitable tenants with a poor rental history are made known to the landlord so they can make an informed decision about the tenancy.”
Tenants renting from accredited landlords know that they can expect good quality, well-managed accommodation.
Tenant Elaine Parker, said: “Renting can be worrying because you often hear about rogue landlords who rent out unsafe houses and won’t make repairs. When I heard that my landlord had been accredited by the council, I was more confident and it turned out to be a great decision. I’m really happy here.”
Cllr Eddie Tomlinson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for strategic housing, said: “Although it’s relatively new, our landlord accreditation scheme is already starting to make a real difference in County Durham. Not only are we helping landlords find reliable tenants but tenants can rent with confidence knowing that their landlords adhere to a code of practice as part of the scheme. It also allows landlords to apply for our empty homes loan scheme which has already brought hundreds of properties back into use across the county, making a major difference to local communities.”
Landlords can find out more about the scheme at how to sign up by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/landlordaccreditation
Tenants looking for accredited landlords can find properties at: www.durhamkeyoptions.co.uk.