Landlords encouraged to join Council scheme promoting high quality properties to tenants

Reading Borough Council is preparing to launch a scheme encouraging landlords to commit to a charter of housing and management standards for Reading renters. In return they will receive accreditation and the ability to advertise properties on the soon to be launched Reading Rent With Confidence website.

The scheme will provide Reading renters with a dedicated website for finding and renting individual rooms or whole properties with the confidence that they will be renting from verified landlords, and assurances that properties advertised meet the Council’s criteria for high quality homes with good management.

The council is encouraging all private sector landlords with properties in the borough to apply to join the Reading Rent with Confidence scheme. If granted, further to an inspection, it provides an array of benefits to landlords with properties approved and rated by Reading Borough Council, online promotion of accredited homes through media channels, a dedicated officer providing help and advice, and a competitive advantage when letting the property.

For an annual subscription per property of £158.94 including VAT, teaming up with the Council will enable landlords to update details of their properties and enhance trust with tenants. They are also able to access the Council’s ‘click before you evict’ service, launched to offer support and advice to landlords to ensure all avenues are explored to help struggling tenants and to see eviction as a last resort that can hopefully be avoided.

Landlords with properties in the borough are being invited to register their interest in being included in the scheme now by emailing RRWC@reading.gov.uk, after which they will be contacted to help talk through how to make an application.

Whilst the new website is set to launch soon, Reading’s renters can still view a number of properties included under the scheme here: https://www.reading.gov.uk/housing/private-renting/reading-rent-with-confidence-scheme/rrwc-properties/. This selection of houses are with landlords who have already been accredited.

Members of the public using the Reading Rent With Confidence site will have the reassurance that they are dealing with Council-certified landlords, screened to eradicate the worries of poor practice. The public-facing website will also contain 12 animated videos about safety and repairs in the home and potential issues during the tenancy period, a simple but effective way of informing tenants about what safety standards to expect in a rented property and ensure landlords are meeting their legal obligations.

Cllr Ellie Emberson, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Housing, said: “This is a really great initiative to assist tenants in choosing a home with an accredited landlord who has met the high standards we expect for all Reading renters. Our aim is ultimately to ensure residents who rent across the borough can indeed do so with confidence, safe in the knowledge that Reading Borough Council is behind them”.

The criteria for landlord certification under the Reading Rent with Confidence Scheme includes requirements such as:

  • Properties being in very good decorative repair and modernised
  • A maximum deposit up to a maximum of five weeks
  • Regular recorded property inspections
  • Target response times for emergencies and other requests
  • Written and recorded inventory for check-in and check-out
  • Gas/ Electrical certificates provided to tenants (and Local Authority on request)
  • No rental increases within fixed term tenancies (12 months or less)
  • Providing adequate storage for refuse and recycling & share relevant waste and recycling information with all tenants.
  • Providing, where possible, long term tenancies (e.g. 2-year tenancies)