Type=image;ImageID=10846;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=The new Rent with Confidence website;TitleClass=strong;
'Rent with Confidence' will pioneer the way local authorities work with private landlords and is aiming to encourage greater customer choice and raise living standards.
It will function in a similar way to the rating scheme used by the Food Standards Agency for restaurants and takeaways.
Stars will be awarded to landlords who comply with the law and who rent out property above the minimum statutory standards, with financial incentives for 5 star landlords.
Three to five star landlords will be given access to the new property website portal, www.rentwithconfidence.org.uk, which is run by the council, and will only advertise council approved properties.
The database of properties available through the scheme will be gradually built up over time as the Rent with Confidence web portal becomes THE search engine for private rented properties in the city. In the meantime tenants will be able to register their interest in finding accommodation in the city on the website.
In order to deal with the initial large influx of requests, landlords will be invited to self assess their properties on the portal to gain a preliminary rating until the council is able to inspect and confirm these ratings. It is anticipated that around 800 properties will be put through the programme in its first year of operation.
All star ratings will be published on the website for tenants and landlords to view, along with a new feature giving up to date information on which legal notices have been served on landlords.
Overall, the scheme will see improved health and wellbeing of residents, along with better property and housing management standards, and longer term stability in neighbourhoods. The scheme will improve the private rented offer and support the economic regeneration of the city.
Councillor Peter Bilson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Housing and Assets, said: "Standards need to be improved across the board and we need to stop the exploitation of people whose choices are limited.
"This 5 star system is both innovative and should make a real difference to improving the quality of private sector rental property in Wolverhampton as we continue to regenerate the city.
"This in turn provides health and safety benefits associated with better living conditions.
"Visually the scheme is easily recognisable and will help tenants and other housing providers identify the best landlords.
"The detail has been developed in consultation with partner agencies and landlords.
"It is as part of a wider package of housing measures aimed at improving standards across Wolverhampton."
The scheme will work in conjunction with the council's 'Educate, Encourage, Enforce' approach to ensuring the city's private rental market meets the needs and aspirations of residents.
The rating system, which has been formulated in consultation with landlords, will be based on 5 key principles - property, maintenance, legal compliance, continued professional development (CPD), and investment in the city. Each element will be weighted and together will provide a final score and associated star rating.
The best landlords will be highlighted and education support, where required, will be provided to help them maintain their top star status.
Rogue landlords and criminal landlords will be hit with a revised and more robust enforcement policy, and further use of licensing powers.
There will be a clear appeals procedure with the onus on the landlord to provide evidence.
Early feedback on the scheme has been very positive and there is a waiting list of landlords ready and keen to be rated.
For further information about Rent with Confidence please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- released: Wednesday 5 October, 2016