Sandwell has launched a new scheme that will see private investors having their properties rated on a scale of zero to five stars.
Under the Assured Landlords Scheme all privately rented accommodation and landlords and agents operating in the borough would be inspected and rated. Any scores of three stars or above will be promoted via a council-managed housing website.
It is hoped that the new rating system will aid a crackdown on underperforming landlords. It also aims to improve standards by rewarding landlords to do a good job.
Prospective tenants will register their own housing requirements whilst landlords will register their own details. They will list their properties and carry out a self-assessment of said property. This will then be validated by officers and any properties rated below three stars will be rejected.
The proposed rating system would be based on five key principles. These comprise of property, maintenance, legal compliance, continued professional development and investment in the area.
Five star ratings would be reserved for ‘exemplary landlords/agents and property, displaying high levels of management for tenants and property, goes over and above legal requirements.’ They must have had no interventions or legal action by the council within the last five years and invest within the council area.
To obtain just one or two stars, landlords and properties must meet minimum statutory standards. However, the council may have recommended improvements which have not yet been carried out.
Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Sandwell’s cabinet member for housing, said: ‘The scheme is one of a number of measures being developed by the council to drive up standards in the private rented sector and crack down on rogue landlords. We want to encourage and support those good landlords in Sandwell currently providing a high standard of accommodation. We already work with a number of accredited landlords who provide accommodation in the private rented sector but there is no centralised record system.’
She continued: ‘The scheme will provide a transparent and robust accredited star rating for property and management standards in the private rented sector in Sandwell.’
Informal consultations have been held with Sandwell’s Landlords Steering Group which has generally welcomed the move.