London Rental Standard Launched

house_300713Boris Johnson has launched the London Rental Standard, a voluntary scheme for landlords and letting agents in the private rented sector, in the hope of promoting an increase in landlord accreditation and standards.

City Hall won’t accredit anyone itself, but has laid out a minimum set of standards that other agencies must abide by, including:

  • a written rental agreement
  • a protected deposit
  • reasonable notice of access
  • minimum times for emergency and urgent repairs
  • property conditions that comply with legal requirements.

There will also be a publicity campaign to make sure tenants know their rights.

In theory this is all grand, but the fatal flaw is surely that the scheme is voluntary. Landlords who comply with these rules anyway will sign up; landlords who think it’s too much faff to ring a plumber for your broken boiler in January within a fortnight, or break multiple occupation rules, or are responsible for ‘beds in sheds’ aren’t going to bother are they? In this, as so much in life, it’s likely to be the poorest Londoners who lose out, the ones whose landlords think tenants should just be grateful for having a damp-ridden bedsit and not expect things like their deposit back.

There’s also nothing on several issues that came up again and again when we asked around for solutions to London’s housing crisis: longer and more secure tenancies, annual rent hikes or extortionate letting agent fees (agents will have to make clear what their fees are, but there’s nothing to cap what they can charge).

It’s a small step in the right direction, but still a long way to go.

See also:
London Rents Rise By a Third in Three Years
Where Are London’s Cheapest Homes?

Photo by Lee Jackson from the Londonist Flickr pool

Tags: , , ,

LondonistPortraits-14

Article by Rachel Holdsworth | 2,404 Articles | View Profile | Twitter

  • London Typestruffaut

    Hmmm
    The clue’s in the final bullet point….
    All of the above are legal requirements already – the majority of them for 25 years!!
    Unfortunately enforcement was traditionally carried out by the courts but as legal aid has been removed from tenants no chance of this in the future.
    This has to go down as one of the most transparent ‘announcements of nothing’ ever spun out of a press team…

  • SpareRoom.co.uk

    Agree with previous commenter, this changes nothing – those who already abide with the law will continue to do so – those who choose not to won’t pay the blindest bit of notice. This is posturing, we’re afraid, and helps nobody.

  • Tenant

    So just to clarify, the Mayor has started a scheme which asks landlords if they wouldn’t mind obeying the law, if it’s not too much trouble, but if it is, not to worry. Wow. Way to go Boris.

  • Elain

    Other things they could have added to that list:
    Glass in windows
    A toilet on premises
    Source of heating on premises

    Walls that are made from certified wall material (instead of office dividers, chipboard etc.)No pay per use electricity meters requiring outdated coins

    …the list goes on and on.

  • disqus_Ln84UtRBFb

    Interesting points. However, accreditation has a longer term role to
    play in the private rented sector. Accreditation acts as a form of
    self-regulation in that landlords agree to do what they already do
    (comply with the law), tenants are made aware of accreditation and are
    actively encouraged to report landlords that fall short, inclusion in
    any accreditation scheme becomes a risk, then landlord loses any form of
    recognition by the scheme.

    The alternative is that
    lesser landlords remain part of the mix, in with all the good landlords
    and as a result, government opts to increase the level of legislation.

    We
    need to be allowed to run our business and provide the country with the
    vital stock it’s screaming out for, leaving governmetn to channel it’s
    energy into identifying and policing those landlords who choose not to
    follow the law.

    You are right, the London Rental
    Standard is not asking you to do anything above what you are expected to
    do. In which case, why not step up to the mark ?