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Spot checks on buy to let properties could boost quality - claim

A PropTech company chief is backing the controversial idea of spot checks on private rental sector properties in a bid to improve quality.

North Somerset Council recently announced that it is introducing an initiative called 'Rent with Confidence' from October 1.

The council will be focusing on Weston-super-Mare town centre, where it says a cluster of rental properties exists in poor condition. In response, the council has pledged to undertake random inspections of landlords' properties in the area and to take punitive action, including fixed penalty notices.


Any landlords found to be non-compliant will automatically have their remaining properties inspected by council officers.

Now Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of automated payment platform PayProp in the UK - which manages the payments on more than 23,000 active tenancies now - says unscheduled visits could help clean up the reputation of the rental sector.

“Random checks in this vein could prove highly effective in uncovering poor PRS practice and could vastly improve rental market standards. It’s especially effective as offending landlords or agents won't have time to try to cover up their wrongdoing" he suggests.

"If the system is successful in North Somerset, I see no reason why it couldn't be rolled out across the country. The thinking behind it ties in with many of the government's efforts to improve transparency and professionalism in the rental sector" he adds.

"It could work in unison with London’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker as well as its national equivalent, making sure offending agents and landlords are identified and that their wrongdoing is documented and accessible to both local authorities and consumers."

Cobbold says in addition to local authorities and the government looking to raise standards, letting agents and landlords must be proactive about embracing solutions which will help them become more transparent.

"While extremely important, government-led regulation is only one side of the coin. Letting agents and landlords need to adopt PropTech solutions which make for more accurate administration, reduce the chances of human error and simplify processes" he says.

"As well as maintaining the condition of rental homes with the help of technology, property professionals need to make sure their financial systems are water-tight and that all payments can be clearly accounted for" Cobbold concludes.

Poll: Would spot checks by Trading Standards improve quality?


  • icon

    What a load of crap . My tenants are happy to be left to live their lives as they want.
    Nanny state. Whel he probably had one that wiped his a __ nose !!

  • Barry X

    As if we haven't enough to deal with already.... and enough threats and additional burdens and costs to try and somehow manage..... I expect councils will latch onto the idea of making this another secret "profit center" while pretending they are doing it to achieve some far more lofty aim when they won't be - it'll just be yet another excuse to charge, fine, penalise and generally hound already beleaguered private landlords.

    Surely if a property is genuinely substandard then either nobody would want to rent it or, if it deteriorated after someone moved in (and they don't really want to move again) then the tenants already have numerous rights and courses of action they can take, including REPORTING the property to the council, not just sitting/living there and hoping that one day - randomly apparently - the council might accidentally discover it/them!

    This might perhaps work in some small, special target area like Weston-super-Mare town centre - but I think the suggestion of rolling it out generally to all parts of the UK's PRS is very wrongheaded and probably dishonest.


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