‘Good landlord scheme’ no good

// HA News

Recent research by the Green Party indicates that only 0.2% of adverts for flats and homes mention the London Rental Standard (LRS) launched by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

The London Rental Standard Scheme (LRS), which intended to raise the standard of rented property in London, has been branded a failure after it was found that so little properties to let were mentioning that the landlord or letting agency had signed up within their advertisements. In 62,521 listings for rented homes on property website Zoopla in July, the scheme was mentioned in just 114 adverts.

LRS was the first citywide scheme to accredit good landlords and letting agents and came into effect in May last year and was targeted to accredit 100,000 landlords and agents by next year. Boris wanted to “improve the experience of everyone involved, from landlord to tenant, with a clear set of good practice rules.” At the launch he was quoted saying “In time, the London Rental Standard will become an instantly recognisable feature of London’s lettings industry, helping Londoners to pick between the huge array of landlords and agents on offer.”

However, over a year later, only 14,452 landlords and 339 letting and managing agent firms had signed up to the scheme – short of the 2016 target of 100,000 by quite a large margin.

Green London Assembly member, Darren Johnson explains the failure, saying “Voluntary accreditation schemes only work if tenants know to look out for the badge, creating demand that landlords might respond to. Even the agents who are members of the scheme don’t publicise it, and don’t let tenants search for accredited landlords. The scheme is a flop, and is no substitute for adequate regulations.”

The general consensus amongst London housing professionals is that such licences for landlords should be compulsary, providing more security and protection for tenants.

Dan Wilson Craw from Generation Rent agrees with this, saying “It is basic, basic stuff. If a landlord isn’t already doing most of these things, they’re probably breaking the law. The scheme is a long way off critical mass and having currency among tenants. Even if it achieved that, there’s nothing forcing landlords who don’t comply to get better, and with demand so high those landlords will always find tenants.”

Deputy Mayor for housing, land and property, Richard Blakeway defended the scheme despite its slow uptake, saying “Over 130,000 properties are now managed under the London Rental Standard, with a rapid growth in the number of accredited agents who manage the bulk of rental homes.”

“This ambitious project is one of a range of policies pioneered by the mayor to support 2 million Londoners renting, including the creation of a long-term, institutionally backed private-rented market and ‘rent to buy’ to help people convert rent into equity.”

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