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Guildford Council's Letting Accreditation Scheme is launched

Guildford's new Mayor, Nikki Nelson-Smith has awarded landlords and letting agencies who have met...

Guildford’s new Mayor, Nikki Nelson-Smith has awarded landlords and letting agencies who have met the standards of a new Guildford Lettings Accreditation Scheme with certificates.

The introduction of the new voluntary scheme came from a council group led by Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas). Its aim is to raise standards of property management within the private rented sector in Guildford.

The scheme has been set up and funded  by Guildford Borough Council in partnership with the University of Surrey.  Surrey Students’ Union and a number of other stakeholders were also partners in the initiative and Belvoir Lettings sponsored the awards event Held in the Guildhall on Thursday evening (May 21).

Cllr Nikki Nelson-Smith said: “The first course to accredit landlords was held in April and I am pleased to hand out certificates to those who successfully completed the course. I hope that the scheme will prosper and become a distinctive mark of quality assurance for landlords, letting agents, tenants and residents.”

Caroline Reeves said: “I have lived in the same house for 27 years, very close to the town centre, and have seen the changes in the community now that so many homes are let to families or tenants sharing.

“Houses of Multiple Occupancy or ‘HMOs’ are the only way that many can live in the town, and increasingly it’s young professionals not students who have to share. As a ward councillor, I receive complaints from both tenants and the neighbours of rented properties, and it seemed to me that there must be a way of ensuring that as an authority we can help all concerned.

“We worked together with the University of Surrey and Surrey Students’ Union and obtained input from all our further education bodies plus a number of agents and landlords, to design a scheme which will provide improved quality assurance for all landlords, letting agents, tenants and their neighbours.”

Sarah Creedy, who until the last election was the lead councillor for housing added: “This is a significant step forward from the work commenced by Cllr Caroline Reeves.

“The council Executive decided in October to endorse the scheme and it is testament to the partnership between the borough, the university and significant stakeholders such as Belvoir, that the scheme has been launched only six months later. It will become an important tool in raising standards within the private rented sector, benefitting both tenants and the wider community”

One of the top scorer’s in the accreditation test with 95%, Claire Williams, said after receiving her certificate: “I am just starting out as a landlord so have nothing to compare this scheme to but the course I went on was very, very helpful and it filled me in on all the details I need to know. I was very pleased to come out with the joint top mark.”

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