We’ve seen large numbers of local councils set up private rental accreditation systems, and a string of politicians from all major parties advocating national private rental registers: now there is a yet another licensing system, this time set up on a regional basis.
The West of England Rental Standard has been set up by South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, and Bristol City councils.
The standard is voluntary and is described by its advocates as “a set of realistic standards” - although it costs £300 for any agent, landlord or other rental sector professional in the first year alone, with £150 each year thereafter.
Its backers say membership would indicate that an agent:
- offers written tenancy agreements;
- is in an approved Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme;
- is a Fit and Proper Person having completed a declaration statement;
- gives a commitment to undertake regular training to keep up to date with relevant laws;
- is a member of an approved redress scheme, and
- is complying with trading laws.
Membership means properties let by agents have to conform with a 20-point ‘minimum standard’ which can be seen here.
At least one of the councils behind this regional ‘standard’ - Bristol - is also working on its own so-called ‘ethical lettings policy’ which it wants agents and landlords within its boundaries to adhere to.