Monday, 13 August 2012

Landlords who want to provide decent accommodation are welcome in Reading!

I seem to post relatively often about poor accommodation in the private rented sector and action that Reading council is taking to change this (and I will have yet another update on a prosecution shortly!).  However as I always stress good landlords are welcome in Reading and provide an essential service to the many who through choice or otherwise rent privately.  It's important therefore to both support good landlords and help those who want to improve.  

I'll be speaking at a landlord information evening in early September that will be a useful update for all landlords about current local and national issues and later in the month there will be a training day organised jointly with the National Landlords Association that will help landlords get accredited.  

A lettings agent who was fined £20,000 following a prosecution brought by Reading Council recently told the press that the council wasn't interested in supporting landlords.  I think these and the other things that the council does demonstrates that's clearly not true.


Current and prospective landlords across Reading are being urged to take advantage of a free information evening next month, aimed at continuing to raise standards in the high number of private rented accommodation across the town.

Reading Borough Council is joining forces with the National Landlord Association (NLA) to host the free event on September 6 as part of its on-going drive to further improve homes for private tenants across the town.

Reading is unique in the region in that it is estimated to be home to three-quarters of houses of multiple occupation in the whole of Berkshire. More than one in four (26%) of the whole of Reading's housing stock is made up of private rented sector housing and there are estimated to be around 3,500 properties providing bed-sit or shared accommodation for approximately 18,000 residents across the town.

The Landlord Information Evening takes place at the Civic Centre on Thursday September 6th between 6.30pm and 9pm. An introduction from Rachel Eden, Reading Borough Council's Lead Member for Housing and Neighbourhoods, will be followed by these presentations:

" Issues in the Private Rented Sector
" HMO News; Article 4 and HMO Licensing
" Pest Prevention & Control for landlords
" Green Deal for Landlords
" Referencing and Vetting Tenants
" Ending a Tenancy
" Government Welfare Reform

Councillor Rachel Eden, said: "Good landlords are important to Reading's residents and Reading Borough Council wants to support them provide the best service to their tenants. I want to see a strong private rented sector that provides a good service to tenants and I know that responsible landlords feel the same.

"Rewarding landlords who are accredited with the NLA and providing training and information to all landlords who will take it up is part of this, along with the other actions to ensure a level playing field, including enforcement against rogue landlords."

Landlords should confirm attendance by contacting the Council's Housing and Public Health Team on PRSA.Team@reading.gov.uk or by phoning 0118 937 2562 or 0118 937 2225.

The Council and the NLA will again joining forces later in September to provide its latest Landlord Development Day training opportunity. A full day's training for landlords will be run by NLA Trainer & Landlord James Fraser on Wednesday September 19 at The Avenue Centre.

The day will focus on the key areas affecting landlords including managing and ending a tenancy, legislation as well as finding tenants. It has proven extremely popular across the UK with over 85% of landlords who attended the course rating it's content and delivery as 'excellent' in 2011. Many of those who attended have been a landlord for more than ten years and more than 1,000 landlords who completed the course across the UK last year have gone on to become accredited with the NLA.

The course can also be completed online via the NLA's unique 'online library'. To get access to the online library, you will need to either become a full member of the NLA for £80 a year, or you can purchase online library access for just £40 a year. This online development area is free to existing NLA members.

All landlords who are accredited via completion of the attendance or online course will have access to a number of benefits from the NLA including the use of the NLA accredited logo, a nationally recognised professional standard for landlords and updates on changes to legislation and the housing market.

Reading Borough Council rewards landlords that earn NLA Accredited status by offering a £80 discount on new HMO Licence applications and £80 off the price of renewal fees. Accredited landlords will also benefit from e-mail news updates on local private rented housing issues.
Landlords can book their place on the course, or find out more about the scheme by contacting Charlotte Clements on 0207 840 8920 or e-mailing Charlotte.Clements@landlords.org.uk