A local council is consulting on the creation of a charter involving letting agents, landlords, consumer bodies and university accommodation teams.
If the charter is adopted, all parties will be invited to sign up to what Reading council calls "a set of shared values and commitments that will improve life for private rented tenants."
This is the latest in a series of measures by different local authorities across the country, including landlord licensing as well as selective and additional licensing.
In Reading's case the charter will include:
- Tenants and landlords (or their agents) taking "full responsibility for the homes they let out and live in";
- Increasing the number of landlords supplying good quality private rented homes;
- Tackling fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency in private rented housing;
- Working with tenants, landlords and agents to agree procedures to tackle disputes;
- Acting against criminal landlords to protect tenants;
- Bringing an end to unfair practices which contribute to a negative image of the private rented sector.
Measures in the action plan include ensuring all letting and managing agents operating within Reading are members of a redress scheme (which is already law, of course); developing systems to deal with allegations of harassment and illegal eviction; increasing the identification and referral of sub-standard properties and developing and promoting a 'rent with confidence' scheme.
Consultation closes on October 14.