Student housing code sweeps nation

The UK’s first accreditation scheme for student landlords has been hailed as a success one year on.

More than 1,200 student properties in 26 cities have already signed up to the Accommodation for Students/Unipol Code and that figure is expected to break through the 2,500 mark later this year.

Drafted by the website Accommodation for Students (AFS) and the training charity Unipol, the code sets new standards for student housing.

Under the voluntary code, landlords commit themselves to abide with higher standards for their student properties by setting out the criteria to which their management and accommodation should adhere to.

The standards cover issues such as safety and security, facilities, comfort and services provided by the landlord.

The scheme has been popular in the student heartlands of Manchester, Leeds, Durham, Nottingham and Birmingham.

It is also gaining popularity in Sheffield, Middlesbrough and Canterbury.

The scheme’s popularity has been underlined by a survey carried out by AFS suggesting landlords rate it highly, and that more than 90% of tenants claim they would opt to rent somewhere which has been inspected and then accredited by an independent assessor.

In addition, among the code’s unique features is that students are interviewed and asked for their views.

The first organisation to adopt the code was the University of Exeter and it is now publicising it to property landlords with student housing in the area.

Their accommodation manager, Helen Whyte, said: “The code meets our requirements for landlords and their properties and covers specific issues for student housing including removing rubbish and taking care of gardens.”

Simon Thompson, co-founder and director of AFS, said: “It is still early days, with only pockets of accredited inventory in each city, but we are very pleased with both the take-up from landlords and reaction from students.”

Another early adopter of the schemes was Place Group UK and its founder Rob Hunter said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the accreditation system, the quality of the assessors and the results we have seen.

“Having a published standard helps bring peace of mind to parents and students and I am passionate about encouraging more landlords to get behind the scheme and help improve standards.”

Another aspect to joining the scheme says AFS, is that landlords are benefiting from higher quality tenants and letting their properties more quickly.

With many university towns seeing big rent increases in recent years, parents and students are seeking ways of ensuring they are receiving value for money when they rent a property.

To help landlords and students understand more about the code,watch this video

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