Following the launch last year of the Rent Safe accreditation scheme, designed to assure tenants that landlords meet States’ standards, the scheme is now being extended to include managing agents and letting agents. The scheme, which grades landlords on the quality of the property they are letting out, publishes ratings from three to five stars on the gov.je website.
To join the Rent Safe scheme, managing agents and letting agents must demonstrate that they meet the minimum criteria expected of a responsible company. Landlords already have to ensure their rental properties adhere to legal and property standards.
While the number of landlords signing up to the scheme has so far been disappointingly low, Stewart Petrie, Director of Environmental Health, said that he expected the number to dramatically increase as the introduction of the new rented dwellings legislation comes closer. The proposed new legislation aims to protect the health and well-being of tenants by setting new minimum standards for property let out on the island. The legislation would also make it easier for the Environment Minister to deal with landlords with properties that fall below the required standards. To read more about the legislation click here.
“We had a meeting with a number of estate agents a couple of weeks ago and six have already expressed an interest in signing up to Rent Safe,” Mr Petrie said, adding “If the agents sign up, then they will bring the landlords with them.”
Mr Petrie anticipates that by the time the new rented dwellings law has been passed, more agents and landlords will have signed up to the Rent Safe scheme.
Mr Petrie highlighted the benefits for tenants: “This is really good news for people looking to rent accommodation. Joining the scheme is free and enables the agent or landlord to demonstrate their commitment to providing homes that are free from hazards and are managed appropriately.”
People renting through an accredited agent can be sure that the accredited agent has:
- acceptable know your customer (KYC) procedures
- an acceptable standard tenancy agreement
- an acceptable standard schedule of condition
- lodged the deposit with My Deposits Jersey (or, if the landlord is responsible, appropriate advice is provided to the landlord)
- public indemnity insurance
- a dedicated out of hours emergency contact number
- an appropriate tenant referencing procedure
- a minimum of biannual inspections (or appropriate advice provided to the landlord)
- an understanding of, and aim to achieve, minimum standards required under the Rent Safe Scheme within properties for which they have direct management responsibility
Accredited agents and landlords can advertise their accreditation, and potential tenants can check that an agent or landlord is accredited by visiting www.gov.je/rentsafe or asking to see the Rent Safe certificate.