The incentive comes as Exeter City Council and the University of Exeter actively attempt to drive up the standards of properties in the city for tenants.
Both the University of Exeter and the Students’ Guild are committed to promoting the AfS/Unipol Accreditation Scheme within the private sector housing market in Exeter.
The University of Exeter is working with AfS/Unipol to ensure that landlords are made aware of the benefits of the accreditation.
AfS/Unipol is a national accreditation scheme aiming to help students make more informed choices about their accommodation and to encourage good letting practice across the student housing sector, as well as giving the landlords with AfS/Unipol membership maximum publicity and priority advertising within an increasingly competitive market.
The AfS/Unipol National Code is the UK’s largest landlord accreditation scheme involving the inspection of properties by a team of independent experts.
The scheme was established in 2011 and as time goes on, more and more properties will be advertised using the Code’s distinctive logo. The Students’ Guild hope that eventually the annual Housing Fair will only be open to accredited landlords. Landlords can even get preferential advertising for their properties.
The AfS/Unipol code isn’t just about making sure that a property meets legal, national and local standards - it’s serious about being student-friendly. Checks are made to ensure that the property is marketed responsibly, to make sure that there is the right space and facilities to study comfortably .Current student tenants are also asked about their landlord.
Accredited landlords are expected to comply with the ethos of the code and submit to random checks of their properties every three years. Landlords who don’t comply can lose their accreditation and there is an independent panel to deal with complaints.
In order to support the University and Students’ Guild in their efforts to attract landlords onto the scheme, the City Council has agreed to reduce the licence fees paid for licensable HMOs by £125 for accredited properties that have been inspected under any accreditiation scheme.
Council Leader Pete Edwards, said: "The City Council is committed to driving up standards in the private rented sector and we recognised accreditation schemes as one means of achieving this aim, by improving the professionalism of landlords. The discount is not exclusively available to student accommodation or to Afs/Unipol accredited landlords, any landlord can become accredited through different routes and as long as the property is inspected as part of that process they too will benefit.”
Tricia Punchard, Assistant Director of Residences at the University of Exeter, said: “Working in partnership with Exeter City Council, the University of Exeter and the Students’ Guild, are committed to promoting the accreditation scheme. We are actively encouraging student landlords to make the most of this incentive and sign up to the scheme to secure minimum standards for privately rented student accommodation in Exeter.
“The scheme is voluntary for landlords to join, however, this is a significant and positive move to ensuring the student living experience is consistent and of high quality across the city.”
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