· a written rental agreement
· a protected deposit
· reasonable notice of access
· minimum times for emergency and urgent repairs
· property conditions that comply with legal requirements
While many sceptics have been quick to dismiss the LRS's effectiveness, as it carries a voluntary status, supporters such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents say the move will lead to great transparency for tenants looking for flats to rent in East London (http://www.winkworth.co.uk/
The majority of lettings agents and property managers are already working within the framework of a leading industry body and also to strict in-house codes of conduct. However, the lack of an overall lettings regulation does mean a small percentage of 'rogue' landlords and agents are practicing. Sadly, just a handful of mismanaged properties can tarnish the whole industry. The LRS is designed to expose landlords and agents who may not be providing an acceptable level of service to tenants, as any lettings provider acting in a professional and legally-compliant manner should be happy to join the LRS.
Letting agents that have successfully met the LRS standard will be rewarded with a badge that they can display in their office, while landlords will have official paperwork to show prospective tenants or lodge with any property manager they wish to work with.
The LRS is especially important in East London where there are a high proportion of tenanted properties. The 2012 Olympics saw a rise in the number of first-time landlords renting out their own property or buying specifically with buy-to-let in mind. Despite the Olympics finishing two years ago, East London has kept its status as a vibrant cultural and sporting hub in the capital, attracting a new breed of home movers along the way. Therefore, many landlords have decided to stay in the private rental sector following a continued demand from tenants.
East London estate agents with a lettings division can join the LSR scheme by sending at least one member of staff from each of its branches on a basic foundations lettings course run by a number of approved providers. The providers include the letting industry's leading professional bodies, including Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA); National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS); Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).
Landlords with flats to rent in East London are also being encouraged to join the LRS, which they can do by attending a one-day training course. The training is designed to ensure every landlord is up-to-speed with the latest laws and legislation attached to rental property and how to meet the welfare needs of tenants. To stay accredited, landlords must attend a course once every five years.