Reading Borough Council is set to launch a charter for private landlords including a prosecution for criminal landlords.
A consultation has been set in order to adopt a Private Rented Sector Housing Charter, with landlords, letting agents and organisations including Reading University Students’ Union and Citizens Advice Bureau all invited. The scheme aims to raise the standard of private rental properties in the area.
If the charter is adopted, those it affects will be asked to sign up to a set of ‘shared values and commitments’ with the aim of ensuring health and safety and quality standards for private tenants. It aims to encourage tenants and landlords to both take full responsibility for their properties, deal with fuel poverty and energy efficiency and act against criminal landlords. It also aims to halt ‘unfair practices’ which affect the image of the borough’s private rental sector.
The plan includes making sure all letting and managing agents in Reading are members of a redress scheme, whilst establishing systems to deal with accusations of harassment and illegal eviction,
Lead member for housing, Councillor Richard Davies, said: ‘House prices in Reading are growing at one of the fastest rates in the country, so the private rented sector makes a vital and growing contribution in Reading, particularly for families. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous landlords who seek to take advantage of the situation and do not provide the standards tenants have a right to expect. Their victims can often be among the more vulnerable in our community. The council cannot tackle this alone so we will be inviting all parties involved in the market – landlords, letting agents and organisations like Reading University – to sign up with the council to a set of shared commitments they will make to renters in Reading.’
‘We are now consulting on the charter to ensure that it is something everyone can sign up to and I would encourage interested parties to get involved.’