Boris Johnson has launched a rental standard for private sector landlords in London, in a bid to ensure tenants can rent confidently and help landlords understand the law.
The London Rental Standard badge will be awarded to all landlords and letting agents who meet a set of core commitments - including transparent fees, better property conditions, protected deposits and fast response times for repairs.
City Hall is planning to launch a major public awareness scheme - including advertising on the London Underground - in a bid to make the standard ‘an instantly recognisable part of London’s letting market’.
Endsleigh Insurance has also agreed to offer free emergency home cover up to £500 for landlords who sign up, while deposit scheme MyDeposit has offered a half price deal to accredited landlords.
The launch marks the first time professional standards have been set for the whole of the private rented sector in the capital.
Mr Johnson said: ‘With more of London’s workforce and young families living in rented homes, this growing sector is vital to meeting this capital’s housing needs and must not be overlooked. This standard aims to improve the experience of everyone involved, from landlord to tenant, with a clear set of good practice rules.’
The standard brings together seven accreditation schemes run by professional bodies including the National Landlord Association and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. A consultation on the plan was first launched two years ago.
More than a quarter of London’s households now live in rented homes and this is predicted to rise to around 40 per cent by the mid-2020s. In the last ten years the number of families with children renting in London has risen 10 per cent to almost a third. Yet 85 per cent of landlords are not aware of core legislation that protects renters and 61 per cent have no professional management training.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘It’s good to see that the Mayor has listened to the thousands of people who joined Shelter in saying that renting in London just isn’t working.
‘This scheme will be one step in the right direction to ensuring that all renters in the capital can find the decent home they need.’
However, Darren Johnson, an assembly member with the Green Party and chair of the housing committee, attacked the scheme for being ‘silent on the major problems tenants face’.
‘The Mayor of London’s standard gives tenants no real protections against landlords evicting in retaliation for complaints, or against big rent hikes, and fails to ban outrageous letting agent fees,’ he said.
‘He is effectively endorsing half a dozen landlord registers that will only cover good landlords. We need regulations to protect tenants from all the rest.’