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York Landlord Approval Scheme Decision Today


8:49am 4th December 2012

In a bid to support private landlords wishing to improve their services, City of York Council is asking members to consider proposals for a Voluntary Landlord Accreditation scheme to be developed, at a meeting of Cabinet on 4 December.

A report has been compiled outlining a scheme which builds on recommendations to support and improve the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and which, subject to further detailed partnership work and additional consultation, could launch in summer 2013.

Members are being requested to consider permitting officers to develop and implement a York-specific Voluntary Landlord Accreditation Scheme, or to develop a wider-ranging North Yorkshire scheme in co-operation with other local authorities in the area.

The report includes an analysis of schemes which are being run in the region and recognizes the contribution made by the city’s Code of Best Practice for Student Accommodation. It also identifies that the key features to such a scheme could be that:

• it is voluntary – landlords and/or agents agree to join rather than being obliged to, and are usually closely involved in establishing and running the scheme

• it outlines a set of standards relating to management practice and/or property condition to which accredited properties and landlords and agents must adhere

• it is usually administered by an independent body such as a local authority, a university, or one set up specifically for the task, which checks that the required standards are met

• there are incentives to membership such as access to training, information and advice, advertising of accredited properties, or grant aid with the cost of building work, for example.

A 9.2% population growth in York since 2001 combined with high house prices indicates that private rented accommodation which makes up nearly 18% of the city’s housing stock, is set to grow. To help define and regulate standards and support the types of accommodation needed, an accreditation scheme could make a significant social and financial contribution to the city and support the council’s commitment to ‘Build Strong Communities’.

Landlords and agents were engaged in preliminary consultation on a possible scheme earlier this year as were council partners including the Student Unions and Higher York, York Citizens Advice Bureau, YorHome, the Salvation Army, Safer York, the Centre for Housing Policy at York University, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Yorkshire Energy Partnership.

Should Cabinet agree to the proposal, the scheme will be developed in tandem with local landlords and partners in the sector.

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