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Landlords lodge their support for new Council accreditation scheme
Tuesday 15th September, 2009

Wigan Council has set up a new, locally-managed landlord accreditation scheme aimed at recognising property standards and good management service.

The scheme, introduced in response to requests from local landlords and managed by the Council’s Housing Strategy Team, is free to join and offers a host of benefits, including discounted landlord insurance and free credit checks.

The scheme offers free advertising of vacant properties through the Property Shops as well as discount cards for Jewsons, one of the UK’s leading chains of builders merchants, and plumbers merchants Grahams.

The scheme requires landlords to complete an application form and provide evidence of certain certification, in addition to complying with property inspections to ensure that they comply with Housing Health & Safety legislation.

Cllr. Kevin Anderson, the council's champion for neighbourhoods, says:

“We are responding to requests from local landlords who have told us quite clearly they want a scheme based in Wigan. We want the many Wigan landlords who offer a high quality standard of property with a good management service to be recognised. We also know that letting a property for the first time can be a daunting task so we want to be able to help new or inexperienced landlords so that they can get it right first time. We are hopeful that the many landlords operating in the Wigan area will see the benefits of joining our scheme and gaining the recognition they deserve.”

For those seeking accommodation in the private sector, this scheme means that tenants can be assured that checks have been carried out on landlords with accredited properties - and that they meet minimum standards in terms of property maintenance and housing management.

Overall, this will raise standards in the private sector, as well as increasing access to additional housing options for those seeking accommodation in the borough.

Patricia Wildon has been renting out properties across Wigan Borough for over ten years. She says she’s delighted to be the first landlord accredited on the scheme:

“I think this is an excellent idea! It whittles out the less responsible landlords and recognises the effort and investment that many landlords make to ensure their houses are homely, safe and comfortable. Tenants need to know that the property they rent is maintained to a proper standard, for instance that the electricity and gas supplies are reliable and safe. Inspections also flag up potential problems with damp and drains, and highlight hazards such as open staircases which may pose a risk to toddlers. This accreditation scheme is good for landlords and tenants, and will bring rented accommodation across the borough up to an acceptable standard for all.”

One of Mrs Wildon’s tenants is Andrea Tate. She agrees that the accreditation scheme is a great idea:

“It offers peace of mind. My landlords are very thoughtful and because they are local, I know that day or night, if there is any problem, they will always be there to deal with it. With this kind of scheme, tenants know that the accommodation is kept to a quality standard - so you can sleep at night confident that your family is safe.”

Further benefits include access to the Council’s Private Sector Leasing Scheme which enables landlords to lease their properties to the Council on a long term basis and received a guaranteed monthly rent. The Council subsequently employs Wigan Housing Solutions, a not-for-profit organisation, to manage the properties on its behalf. Wigan Housing Solutions also manage the Bond Scheme on behalf of the Council - another benefit available to landlords who become accredited.

If you have any queries about the Wigan Landlord Accreditation Scheme please contact Jen Martlew on 01942 488478.

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