The announcement has been made of a voluntary national accreditation scheme for the owners of student properties. The scheme is designed to establish a baseline level of housing standards for all student properties. Among the major areas covered by the scheme will be the levels of comfort, security, safety and overall facilities provided by the housing property. The intention behind the accreditation code is to ensure students – many of whom will have little previous experience of the housing rental market – have access to information about property standards before deciding whether to rent.
The idea has been developed as a joint initiative by Unipol, the student charity, and the online site Accommodation for Students and has already been given the full backing of the National Union of Students. Unipol’s chief executive, Martin Blakey stated:
“For some time there has been a concern about the potential lack of quality control on some online accommodation websites and a few student tenants have suffered from inferior standards and, in exceptional cases, fraud. This has not been helped by the patchwork and poorly-understood nature of many existing accreditation schemes.”
Under this new scheme, the owner of any student rental property who wishes his or her property to receive accreditation, will have to allow someone representing the accreditation body to visit the accommodation to check the overall standards. This will apply to properties with 14 or more residents located anywhere in the UK and landlords will be required to make a minimum three year commitment to upholding the standards laid out under the scheme.