New partnership helps landlords raise standards

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PRIVATE sector landlords in Northumberland have an extra way to get accredited thanks to a new partnership.

The county council has announced that it is joining forces with the National Landlords Association (NLA) in a 12-month agreement to jointly promote landlord accreditation across the county.

Since early 2010, the authority has run a voluntary scheme which was designed to raise standards, recognise good practice in the private rented sector and encourage all landlords to reach the same high standards.

In order to increase the numbers of landlords and properties involved, it has agreed to work with the NLA — the UK’s leading representative body for private sector residential landlords.

The county council’s own scheme is based on property inspection and ensures that there are no Category 1 hazards present in the property.

It requires that energy performance, electrical safety and landlord gas safety certificates are all in place, as well as suitable buildings insurance.

The NLA programme is based on landlord development. To become an accredited landlord you have to complete a foundation course, either online or by attending a full day course which focuses on the main issues facing landlords including legislation, taxation and managing and ending tenancies.

Coun Tom Brechany, Executive Member for Housing at Northumberland County Council, said: “I am delighted to announce this partnership with the NLA, which is designed to build on the good work that the council has undertaken since the spring of 2010 to raise standards and recognise good practice in the private rented sector across the county.

“I look forward to hearing that the numbers of landlords and properties involved has increased even further over the next 12 months.”

All newly-accredited landlords through either route will receive the same benefits, which include free property advertising on Northumberland Homefinder, a dedicated accredited landlords’ email address for use on all council related issues such as housing benefit and local housing allowance and support in dealing with anti-social behaviour amongst tenants with a dedicated safer communities team.

Siobhan Cannon, Local Government and Accreditation Officer at the NLA, said: “In addition to Northumberland, the scheme is now in place and operating successfully with 32 local authorities across England, with several others in the process of adopting it.

“NLA accreditation provides recognition to responsible, professional landlords offering safe properties which meet tenant and council expectations.”

For more information about the county council route to landlord accreditation in Northumberland, or details of the upcoming landlord forum meetings, contact the authority’s existing stock team on 01670 532210 or email Adam.Lacy@northumberland.gov.uk

For more information about the NLA route, email Siobhan.Cannon@landlords.org.uk