Landlords are being encouraged to sign up to a scheme that aims to improve standards in the private rented sector.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council manages the Landlord Accreditation Scheme North Staffordshire in partnership with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.
The voluntary scheme provides encouragement, support and incentives to members and also ensures good property standards are met. As a result, tenants can have confidence that their landlord is professional and reputable.
Any private landlord who owns and rents out properties in the North Staffordshire area can sign up to the scheme.
Benefits of being a member include:
- recognition that they are a landlord providing a good standard of accommodation
- access to information and advice at a half-day landlord development seminar
- market advantage when letting a property
- free advertisement and promotion of vacant properties on the scheme’s website
- discounted landlord training events
- access to discounts from local participating companies
- improved access to other local authority departments and services, for example housing benefits, empty homes team, grants
- co-operation, support and advice from the scheme operators on all aspects of private renting
- a certificate to promote and provide proof of their membership to the scheme
- periodic inspections of properties registered with the scheme to offer advice on standards and ensure that they meet the scheme requirements
- a quarterly newsletter
- empty property matching service
Vasant Marathe signed up to the scheme and was able to benefit from a £5,000 empty homes grant to help to renovate a property he had bought in Grosvenor Avenue, Oakhill.
The 48-year-old paid £77,250 for the house at auction in March 2016 and needed to spend more than £90,000 to bring it up to the required standard. Originally a three-bedroom home with three reception rooms, it is now being let as a five-bedroom house suitable for professionals.
Mr Marathe, who lives in Hanley, said: “When we bought the house it was in a serious state of disrepair. It had been empty for a long time, dry rot was spreading through the ground and first-floor joists, the window frames were rotten, there was rising damp all around, and ceilings were falling in. It was basically inhabitable.
“We had a lot of work to do, and we sought advice from the city council’s empty homes team about the best way to do it.
“We were encouraged to sign up to the Landlord Accreditation Scheme North Staffordshire, which meant we were provided with a schedule of work to follow in order to bring the property up to the required standard.
“The work we carried out was a bit expensive, but it meant we were doing everything right and exactly in line with regulations. We were also able to benefit from a £5,000 grant, which helped us to meet the renovation costs.
“I would definitely encourage other landlords to sign up to the scheme. It’s a brilliant way of making sure you are providing good accommodation for your tenants.”
The house was featured on BBC1’s Homes Under the Hammer today (Thursday, July 5), at 10am.
Mr Marathe added: “During the auction I was asked by one of the crew if I wanted to take part in the programme and I decided to go for it. It wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be as we’d never taken part in filming before, but overall it was great experience.”
Councillor Randy Conteh, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “The landlord accreditation scheme is a really good way of making sure private rented accommodation in the city is of the best possible standard. It is not only good for landlords, but for tenants as well.
“We take a targeted and proactive approach to tackling the issue of empty homes and bringing life back into communities, and have a number of initiatives like this scheme in place.
“The empty homes team continues to work with private landlords and homeowners to tackle the number of empty properties in the city, and exceeded the council’s annual target of 170 properties for 2017/18 by 37 per cent, with a total of 234 properties for the year. Since the team was created in 2006, 1,537 long-term empty properties have been brought back into use.
“In doing so, we have not only improved the quality and condition of the city's private sector housing but also encouraged an accumulative total of £3,149,315 of investment into the city’s private housing in 2017/18 alone.”
For more information or to apply to join the Landlord Accreditation Scheme North Staffordshire, call 01782 232271 or email