The Residential Landlords Association this week launches the single most ambitious initiative towards self-regulation for the UK’s private sector residential landlords. The ‘Residential Landlords Association Accreditation Scheme’ creates a new partnership between local authorities and responsible landlords who are committed to raising professional standards and providing good quality accommodation.

It is open to any landlord or property manager in England and Wales – irrespective of RLA membership – who wants to be part of a voluntary self-regulated group dedicated to improving standards in the private rented housing sector.

“The intention is to foster better communication and mutual understanding between landlords, tenants and local authorities and to provide better living conditions in higher standards of decent, safe homes,” says RLA chairman Alan Ward.

The Residential Landlords Association has set up an ‘arms length’ company to manage the scheme, provide key training courses and support services including a dedicated website and manned helpdesk. The self-financing scheme will accredit landlords, not properties, although property will be inspected to ensure it satisfies or can be upgraded to meet expectations.

It will help landlords to share information, skills, experience, abilities and good practice. And there will be regular training courses covering key issues such as deposit schemes, health and safety, fire safety, landlord responsibilities and a commitment to ‘continual professional development’.

Accreditation will become an indication of the personal standards of a landlord who has been rigorously vetted, is undergoing professional training, accepts the RLA’s code of conduct and agrees to strict rules about property condition, good management practice and fostering good relationships with tenants.

The RLAAS will also have the power to discipline members and revoke their accreditation.

“This scheme is unique because it is industry developed and operated,” says Alan Ward. “It will work closely with local authorities, contribute to their housing strategies, listen to their needs and adapt to their requirements.”

The scheme has been developed by Tom Toumazou, Dave Princep and Neil Marsden of the Residential Landlords Association’s Local Government Liaison Group’ which represents the RLA on local and central government bodies and helps advance the personal development of professional landlords.

Details of the Residential Landlords Association Accreditation Scheme and how to join are available from the RLA and at www.rlaas.co.uk.