Boris has heard my cry – introducing the London Rental Standard
I moved in to a flat in Bow one month ago, which is not as long as the list of problems we have encountered since trying to settle in. To cut a long story short – we were first asked to pay more than the asking price and make no requests because it would hinder our chances of tenancy. When we arrived at the flat, it had not be cleaned, furniture had been removed, leaving us with one bed between three people, and the fridge did not close. With food perishing, electricity bills soaring, no inventory (which we also had to pay an arm and a leg for), it comes as no surprise that I was rather upset to then find my bathroom and bedroom flooded last night due to an electrical fault – the whole wall and shower unit is going to have to be removed to solve the problem. The agency does not want to know and the landlord does not see the emergency.
The Mayor’s new scheme is encouraging landlords and agencies to sign up and become an accredited provider, showing that they are committed to complying with the law and protecting the rights of their tenants. Parties signing up will be required to pay a small fee that will provide them with a day of training about renting out a property and discounts from leading insurance and deposit scheme providers. They will also receive a plaque to advertise their commitment to the scheme.
Reports by the DCLG in 2010 state Eighty-nine per cent of landlords were private individual landlords responsible for 71 per cent of all private rented dwellings, with a further 5 per cent of landlords being company landlords responsible for 15 per cent of dwellings. More than three quarters (78 per cent) of all landlords only owned a single dwelling for rent, with only 8 per cent of landlords stating they were full time landlords. Complaints about letting agents now make up nearly half the problems dealt with by the Property Ombudsman.
This means that the majority of landlords merely have a house to rent out as a form of income – it is not a job, they are not trained and from my experience, many also do not have the care factor.
We know from experience that change happens best when it goes from the bottom up. I for one welcome this new initiative and hope landlords and agencies up and down the country do too. The service is holistic and simple. Boris can put this in place and it’s another great tick next to his name, but it is the responsibility of the communities to decide the impact of it. With faith congregations and community organisations having the greatest reach, please also hear my cry! Please publicise to and encourage property professionals and home-movers to use this opportunity and help it to reach its maximum potential. Private landlords may not be reached through any other means so please use your ability to speak to a wide audience and disseminate this message and opportunity!