Independent estate agents in north London haven’t heard of Boris Johnson’s rental standards scheme
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Out of more than ten independent estate agents contacted in north London only two had heard of the London Rental Standard
Of more than ten independent estate agents contacted in north London, only two, Japan Homes, on Finchley Road, and Stella Lange LLP, on Hampstead High Street, had heard of the London Rental Standard – and Japan Homes weren’t signed up to it.
The scheme was branded a flop this week by the Green Party, whose research revealed that just 0.2% of landlord listings on Zoopla mention Mayor’s accreditation scheme.
However, large estate agents such as Winkworth and Foxtons are signed up to the scheme, which includes 14,452 landlords and 339 letting and managing agent firms, and it’s estimated that at least 131,400 homes are managed under it.
It was introduced in 2013 in an effort to regulate the rental market, but was widely condemned from its conception, sitting on a budget of £250,000.
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The voluntary scheme seems to have done little to help the ailing private rental sector, with Katia Goremsandu, who owns several rental properties in north London, topping the list of housing offence convictions this week.
Tom Copley AM, Labour’s Housing Spokesperson, called the scheme a “brazen failure”.
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“We need real change in the private rented sector. Londoners need the peace of mind and security of longer tenancy agreements, caps on annual rent increases and an end to no fault evictions. Instead Boris Johnson’s laissez faire approach is utterly failing private renters and leaving them with little protection from bad landlords,” he said earlier this year.
Darren Johnson AM, who commissioned the Green Party research, said: “Voluntary accreditation schemes only work if tenants know to look out for the badge, creating demand that landlords might respond to. Even the agents who are members of the scheme don’t publicise it, and don’t let tenants search for accredited landlords. The scheme is a flop, and is no substitute for adequate regulations.”
“The Mayor needs to face up to the need for compulsory licenses for all landlords, and more secure tenancies and rent controls to protect tenants in an over-heated market,” he added.
Estate agents who hadn’t heard of the scheme in north London included agents from Liv International, TK International and RHW Estates.
A spokesperson from RHW on Finchley Road said: “I’ve never heard of it. They’ve obviously not marketed it very well. If you put all of us smaller agencies together then we’re bigger than Winkworth and Foxtons so they should have made an effort.”
However Ells Bauer, a partner at Stella Lange, one of the two estate agents spoken to that had, said: “We signed up for it because it’s only right. It came from the Mayor’s office and ARLA (the Association of Residential Letting Agents) also advised us to do so. I’m all for fair rents and I want to support that.”