Landlords show they are a CLASS act

Liverpool’s landlord accreditation scheme has reached an impressive milestone.

New company MGM Letting – which provides accommodation for students – has become the 400th organisation in the city to sign-up for CLASS, a Council scheme which recognises good landlords.

And there has been more good news for the scheme, with the submission of the 2,000th property for CLASS accreditation by Elgin Management, another Liverpool student accommodation provider.

It means more landlords than ever in Liverpool are being officially recognised for managing their properties well and providing a good service for tenants.

To celebrate the landmark, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, presented certificates to Ian Howard, Property Manager at Elgin Management and John Morris, Managing Director of of MGM Letting, at Liverpool Town Hall.

The Council is now urging more landlords to sign-up to the city’s voluntary landlord register, to aim for CLASS accreditation, and to work with the council to make Liverpool a great place for all the city’s housing tenants.

Councillor O’Byrne said: “I’m delighted that our CLASS scheme has reached this important landmark. It is a great way of recognising good landlords in the city, and celebrating the work they are doing to improve life for tenants.

“We want to get even more landlords registered with us and working towards, or achieving, CLASS accreditation, because of the many benefits it brings.

“It benefits tenants, because they can make informed decisions when choosing a property. It benefits landlords, because we can offer them incentives which support their business. And it benefits the council, because it leaves us better placed to know who our landlords are, and to communicate with them effectively.

“The huge amount of work we are currently doing to drive up the quality of our private rented sector – including our proposals to introduce a citywide licensing scheme – means it’s more important than ever that we establish contact with all our landlords. I would therefore encourage all landlords to sign-up for our register, talk to us and work with us to deliver properties which fully meet the needs of each and every one of our tenants.”

CLASS (Citywide Landlord Accreditation Safety Scheme) is a voluntary scheme which gives public recognition for being a good landlord. To become accredited, landlords and letting agents have to ensure that the properties they rent out are safe and well-managed, and that they will treat their tenants fairly.

It is free to join, and carrying a CLASS accreditation offers landlords a range of benefits otherwise not available, including:

• Promotion of the landlord on the council’s website.
• Properties owned by accredited landlords given priority when the council offers contracts for housing provision.
• Improved access to council services via a landlord accreditation officer.
• Substantial discounts on licensing fees for houses in multiple occupancy.
• The opportunity to advertise vacant rental properties in Merseyside and Halton via the city’s on-line Property Pool Plus service.

Landlords who wish to become CLASS accredited or sign-up for the city’s voluntary landlords register should visit www.liverpool.gov.uk and type ‘CLASS’ into the search box.

Ian Howard said:  “CLASS is important, as it shows the professionalism of landlords and letting agents and helps increase the quality of rental housing stock.

“I would say to any landlord or agent who is thinking of becoming accredited, to go ahead and do it. It shows that your houses comply with the standards of local government and that you have your tenants safety at the core of your business.”

John Morris added: “Schemes such as CLASS demonstrate to prospective tenants that the property meets certain standards set by a council department. In the student market which we operate in, that is very important to parents especially, who want to know that their children are living in a safe environment.

“Private sector housing needs to improve its reputation, there are a large number of properties to varying standards in Liverpool – being class accredited must make sense and it’s free to join.”

Pledging to work with landlords and tenants 

• Liverpool’s CLASS scheme and voluntary landlords register are part of the city’s 10 Point Pledge for private rented properties, which aim to build on the positive relationship the council has with many landlords while taking a robust stance against the small minority of poor landlords and provide a level playing field for all.

• The pledge also includes:

– The adoption of a Liverpool Standard for private rented housing which sets out the minimum standards expected of landlords.
– A ‘Scores on the Doors’ service which recognise good landlords.
Incentives for landlords who manage their properties well, including access to renewal funding.
– A dedicated website for landlords and tenants and confidential freephone line where people can report unregistered or poor quality landlords.
– A Landlords Advisory Group comprised of landlords and also lettings and managing agents.
– A Rogue Landlords Hit Squad, which will seek out and investigate poor landlords and take appropriate action.

 

Image: Councillor Ann O’Byrne presents Elgin Management and MGM Letting with their certificates