Southwark private landlords offering longer tenancies could soon be eligible for a property award and discounted licensing fees

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 - Southwark Council

London Property Licensing has learnt of plans to introduce a new property award scheme for private landlords in the London Borough of Southwark.

According to the council’s website, Southwark Council consulted on the proposals from 11 February to 12 May 2019, although we received no prior notification and were unable to share this information before the consultation closed.

The council have said their new Gold and Silver Standard will help to drive up standards in the private rented sector which now makes up a quarter of the borough’s housing stock.

The Gold and Silver standards are designed to recognise landlords that go beyond their legal requirements and adopt best practice. The Silver standard is designed as a midway step for landlords to recognise their progression towards the council’s Gold Standard.

The standard itself has been divided into three parts and all three parts must be achieved in full before the landlord is eligible for an award. The three parts relate to:

  • the landlord themselves
  • the standard of the property
  • the tenancy arrangements

The landlord

To be eligible for the silver standard, the landlord must be a member of a landlord association or have a housing related professional qualification, be accredited and/or use an accredited letting and managing agent, and have landlord insurance.

To progress to the gold standard, the landlord must also be willing to accept tenants in receipt of benefit and accept homeless people referred by the council.

The property standard

To be eligible for the silver standard, the property must meet a 12 point checklist including a minimum EPC rating of D, kitchens and bathrooms no more than 20 years old and a fire risk assessment for every property, even if it is rented to a single family.

To progress to the gold standard, the property must meet a further 12 point checklist including full double glazing, kitchen appliances no more than 8 years old and a new toilet seat at the start of each tenancy!

The tenancy arrangements

To be eligible for the silver standard, each tenancy must meet a 6 point checklist including the right to continuous occupation for up to three years and rent increases set at no more than RPI or CPI.

To progress to the gold standard, each tenancy must also comply with a further 11 point checklist including the right to continuous occupation for up to seven years and agreement for the tenant to redecorate, hang pictures and put up shelving without needing permission.

Benefits include cut price licence application fees

In return for meeting an extensive list of requirements, it is proposed landlords would be offered a benefits package that includes a 40% discount on licence fee renewals for Silver status and a 60% discount for Gold status.

Whether this would be enough of an incentive for landlords to offer longer tenancies, accept tenants nominated by the council and meet higher property standards is unclear.

It is not known when the council will publish the results from the consultation and explain the next steps in the process.

For more information on the property licensing requirements in Southwark, you can read our free guide here.

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