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Terms of membership

General

1.1 The Reading Rent with Confidence scheme, hereafter referred to as the "RRWC scheme", was introduced by Reading Borough Council to establish high standards of housing and practices within the private rented sector. The RRWC scheme is intended to demonstrate a commitment by the member to fair and honest practices; and a commitment by Reading Borough Council to support the member.

1.2 The Terms of Membership set out the standards Reading Borough Council requires of all of its private landlords and letting/management agents (the "Members") participating in the RRWC scheme. The standards described in Appendix A and B are designed to ensure that Members are equipped to deliver good quality, well managed accommodation together with the right and proper personal approach by each and every member of staff.

1.3 Regardless of your membership of the RRWC scheme we have a duty to investigate any allegations of breaches of legislation we enforce. We undertake to carry out any such investigations fairly and as quickly as possible.

The Terms of Membership are as follows:

1.4 You will have adequate insurance including public liability insurance (minimum 10 Million pounds) and building insurance for full reinstatement value for a wide range of perils.

1.5 There shall be management control in place to ensure that the letting agent/management agent and landlord operate legally.

1.6 You agree to co-operate with Reading Borough Council and any inspecting officer acting on its behalf, and to provide all relevant records, information, documents and processes during any audits and/or inspections, and thereafter throughout your period of membership to Reading Borough Council in connection with the RRWC scheme.

1.7 You must ensure that a copy of these Terms of Membership is available to any interested party upon request.

1.8 If you are a member of a trade association which has its own Code of Practice then the terms of that code must also be adhered to at all times.

1.9 You must notify Reading Borough Council of any:

  • Civil Court Judgements against you
  • Changes in staff or premises
  • Criminal charges, convictions or cautions or
  • Other change in your circumstances which may affect your approval to participate in the RRWC scheme.

1.10 Any notification under clause 1.9 above may results in the cancellation of your membership of the RRWC scheme. Reading Borough Council will assess any such notification and the process may include, at its discretion, a further audit. Failure to notify Reading Borough Council if any of the matters referred to under clause 1.9 above will be deemed to be a breach of the Terms of your Membership and result in suspension of membership.

1.11 In terms of adherence to the Terms of Membership, you will be held responsible for all employees and subcontractors working on behalf of your letting/management agent and landlord.

1.12  Membership of the RRWC scheme is not transferable except at the sole discretion of Reading Borough Council. You must notify Reading Borough Council of any change of ownership or directorship of the business.

Legal Obligation

2 You will agree to comply with all legal requirements.

2.1 You will not restrict tenant's statutory rights in any way.

2.2 Training: Your business will ensure all staff are competent for the work they carry out, have knowledge of relevant civil and criminal law, and that they are fully aware of the commitments made by the business relating to the RRWC scheme.

2.3 Where appropriate, given the size and nature of the business, records of staff training will be kept, signed and dated by the staff member concerned.

Advertising and Promotion

3 All members will receive a Certificate of Membership.

3.1 All members must indicate their membership of the RRWC Scheme to their customers. This may be done by displaying the certificate on any business premises and in the common parts of an HMO using the logo on website, stationery and advertising etc.

3.2 You will agree to display or otherwise make available to customers a leaflet about this RRWC scheme which will include details to enable the customer to contact the RRWC scheme to register praise for the quality of service received or to make a complaint.

3.3 You agree that where reasonable, information about the status of your membership may be disclosed to interested parties including the general public. This information may include (but is not limited to) details of your assigned banding, details of compliments and/or complaints received. All such information will be handled sensitively and consideration will be given to the interests of the business as well as the integrity of the RRWC scheme.

3.4 Please refer to the document Logo and Promotional Wording for further guidance concerning the rules relating to promotion of your membership of the RRWC scheme.

3.5 You must undertake that all promotional material shall be clear and truthful and will comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008).

3.6 Approval of a letting/management agent or landlord under the RRWC scheme does not indicate in any way that all or part of the business services and premises comply fully with the law. No implication to this effect must be made in any promotional material.

Commitment by Reading Borough Council

4 Reading Borough Council is committed to providing a fair and impartial service to tenants, landlords, letting and management agents. Subject to the overriding provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, all information provided by members as part of the RRWC scheme will be treated sensitively.

4.1 We will provide information, guidance and documentation (where necessary).

4.2 The advice and guidance we provide will be to the best standards of Reading Borough Council but, as with all legal matters, the final interpretation rests with the courts. As a result, such advice may change after certain court decisions.

4.3 We will list our members under relevant headings on our webpage. Such listings will include your business address and contact information.

4.4  We will seek to promote the RRWC scheme using the Reading Borough Council webpage and at all relevant events and presentations given and attended by us, including appropriate broadcast media.

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