Network celebrates its 'successful' first year supporting North Somerset renters

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 July 2017

Rent with Confidence.

Rent with Confidence.

Archant

A network for landlords which helps renters feel safe and supported has said it has had a better first year than it anticipated.

The Somerset Property Network (SPN) launched the National Landlords Code of Excellence (NLCE) scheme in September 2016 and says it has done brilliantly thanks to the ‘hard work’ and ‘determination’ of its members.

The scheme aims to help people find good quality rented accommodation in Weston and surrounding areas.

It has also allowed tenants to have a more direct link to their landlords.

The SPN was formed in response to North Somerset Council’s plans to introduce selective licensing for rented properties, where landlords would have been forced to pay a fee of £320 for each property they owned.

The council was planning to introduce the licences to improve accommodation standards.

When the programme was launched, director of the NLCE Sam Jackson said: “We are not there to shield bad landlords, but it means us good landlords are looking after ourselves so we do not have to pay the price for bad ones.”

In the past year, the NLCE has accredited 56 landlords, which represent more than 1,339 properties across the district.

Mrs Jackson said: “We have achieved far more than we had hoped in the beginning.

“The key to improving standards lies with education and training and we feel the more we can provide, the better standards will become.

“We want to have a far wider impact with tenants in North Somerset and to make them feel safe and able to report problems through our online reporting service.

“The scheme has created a better working relationship with the council and has enabled more landlords to engage and benefit from all the online tools which we offer.”

The scheme has also become an accredited provider of the Rent With Confidence standards, which aims to protect tenants by setting a benchmark for landlords and letting agents.

Mrs Jackson added: “All this has been achieved on minimal budgets through sheer hard work and determination.

“Becoming an accredited provider for Rent With Confidence has been a huge achievement for us.

“We still have a long way to go, we need more of the letting agents to become involved in supporting us as well as a lot more local landlords.”

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