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Plans for assured landlords scheme

Published 21st February 2018

Private landlords in Sandwell are set to have their properties rated on a scale of zero - five stars, under plans by housing bosses to introduce an Assured Landlords Scheme.

Private landlords in Sandwell are set to have their properties rated on a scale of zero - five stars, under plans by housing bosses to introduce an Assured Landlords Scheme.

And those scoring a rating of three stars or more will be promoted on a council-managed website.

Under the scheme, all privately rented accommodation, landlords and agents operating in Sandwell would be inspected and rated.

Prospective tenants would register their own housing requirements, with landlords registering their own details, listing their properties and carrying out a self-assessment of that property.

Officers would then validate the assessment – rejecting any properties with a rating below three stars -  before it is published  on the website.

The proposed star rating system would be based on five key principles: property, maintenance, legal compliance, continued professional development and investment in the area.

The rating scheme would broadly be:

* Five stars - Exemplary landlords/agents and property, displaying high levels of management for tenants and property, goes over and above legal requirements. No interventions or legal action by the council within the last five years. Invests within the council area.

* Four stars - Good landlord/agent and property, display good level of management for tenants and a property that meets all legal requirements.

* Three stars - Satisfactory landlord/agent and property, meets satisfactory levels of management for tenants and property and meets all legal requirements.

* One or two stars - Landlord and properties do meet minimum statutory standards but the council has recommended improvements which have not yet been carried out.

* Zero stars - Does not met statutory standards or is owned by a landlord who has been convicted of housing-related offences.

Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Sandwell’s cabinet member for housing, said: “The scheme is one of a number of measures being developed by the council to drive up standards in the private rented sector and crack down on rogue landlords.

“We want to encourage and support those good landlords currently providing a high standard of accommodation.

 “We already work with a number of accredited landlords who provide accommodation in the private rented sector but there is no centralised record system.

“Prospective tenants often find accommodation by word of mouth recommendations or from advertisements in shops or on mobile phone apps.

“They may have little understanding of their rights when taking on a tenancy and a limited knowledge of what checks to make on a property relying on their own judgement as there is no simple way of assessing the competence of landlords or managing agents.

“The scheme will provide a transparent and robust accredited star rating for property and management standards in the private rented sector in Sandwell."

Councillor Carmichael added that the council has already consulted informally with Sandwell’s Landlords Steering Group which has generally welcomed the move.

If approved, the next step will be to purchase an appropriate ICT system to host the website. Landlords will have the opportunity to comment on its development.

The proposals will be discussed at Cabinet on Wednesday 28 February.