Chichester and Arun Landlord Accreditation Scheme Standards

An intrduction to the scheme

What is the accreditation scheme?

Accreditation is the recognition that a landlord has voluntarily complied with standards set by Chichester & Arun District Councils (CDC and ADC) regarding the condition and management of their properties. To join the scheme a landlord must be a ‘fit & proper person’, abide by the Code of Good Management and agree to accredit all his/her rented properties in Chichester and Arun Districts.

Who is a "fit and proper" person?

A person who has not committed any offences or been subject to any proceedings brought by a local authority or Regulatory Body with regard to the Housing Act, Landlord & Tenant Act or any Approved Code of Practice in relation to the management of HMOs.

Furthermore, convictions relating to fraud, dishonesty, discrimination, drugs or Schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 may disqualify an applicant.

Who can become accredited?

Only tenanted property owners can apply to accredit their properties.

The Scheme requires landlords to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times and respond promptly to all issues raised by tenants.

What does it cost?

There is NO COST to join the scheme.

Do all properties have to be accredited?

Landlords who apply for accreditation must provide a list of all their properties which are available for letting in both Chichester & Arun Districts and agree that all his/her rented properties will become accredited within an agreed timescale. Landlords will need to bring all their rented properties up to accreditation standard as soon as possible and within timescales set by the relevant Council.

How long does accreditation last?

Accreditation will normally last for 5 years and inspections will only be required at the expiry of the term, however interim inspections may also be undertaken if complaints or concerns are received. Please note accreditation may be revoked if the Code of Management or the standards are breached.

Who operates the scheme?

The Landlord Accreditation Scheme is run by Chichester & Arun District Councils.

This booklet sets out the standard which Accredited properties are expected to reach. However, discretion may be applied when there are practical difficulties in achieving the standards.

How do I apply?

Please visit www.chichester.gov.uk or www.arun.gov.uk to apply online. You will be asked to supply copies of a number of documents/certificates, inc. floorplan, Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), PAT Report, Gas Safety Certificate.

Legislation

Under the Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations, landlords must ensure their properties are free from hazards which may affect the health and safety of their tenants, including issues such as damp and mould, excess cold, fire and disrepair. Further information on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) can be found online at www.gov.uk

In addition, where applicable if the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), landlords must comply with the Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and other associated legislation, which may include the requirement to obtain a mandatory HMO Licence.

Standard of appearance

Accredited properties are expected to be maintained to a high standard externally and internally and be of a smart appearance and in good decorative order. All fixtures and fittings including all kitchen units and bathroom suites should match. Bedroom furniture should match, be in a good condition and be of modern standard. Mattresses should be inspected on change of tenant and replaced as necessary.

Cleaning

The landlord must ensure the property is thoroughly cleaned throughout on a change of occupancy.

The landlord must ensure the interior of the property is maintained in good decorative order including ceilings, doors, woodwork and carpets/flooring.

Maintenance

The Landlord must ensure properties (including boundary walls, fences and gardens), are safe and maintained in good repair and that utility services and associated appliances (if provided by the landlord) are maintained in good working order. When maintenance works are required, landlords should inform tenants in advance.

Timescale for Repairs

The Landlord must ensure that repairs are completed within a reasonable timescale, which depends on the severity of the problem. For example:

24 hours - urgent issues affecting the health or safety of the occupants (e.g. major electrical fault, blocked WC).
3 working days - essential, affecting material comfort (e.g. hot water or heating failure).
7 working days - non-urgent, structural or services.

Where landlords are unable to meet the above timescales, for example if contractors are unavailable, they must keep the tenants informed of progress.

Electrical Safety

The Landlord must ensure the electrical installation is inspected every 5 years or shorter period if specified in an electrical report by a suitably qualified person e.g. NICEIC or ECA registered contractor and hold a valid “Satisfactory” Electrical Installation Condition Report stating the installation is in a satisfactory condition with no code 1, code 2 defects or FI items.

All electrical appliances including white goods and stand-alone cookers/hobs provided by the landlord must be visually checked to ensure they are in sound condition and tested at least every 5 years. A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) report must be obtained at least every five years, although for some properties annual testing may be required. Any item less than a year old does not need testing but dated proof of purchase is required.

Minimum number of socket outlets: (Please note sockets must be suitably located)

Living Room - 3 doubles

Dining room - 3 doubles

Kitchen - 3 double sockets above worktops in addition to sockets dedicated to fixed appliances such as refrigerator and washing machine

Hall - 1 single

(Please consider the location of the telephone point when siting the socket if an internet router is required.)

Landing - 1 single

Bedrooms - 2 doubles in each

Gas & Oil Safety

The Landlord must ensure the property has a current and valid Gas or Oil Safety Certificate (renewable annually)

Portable gas/paraffin heaters are unacceptable and must not be provided.

Provide a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, mains-powered where possible, but battery if not, marked with British Standard EN50291 and a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. If a battery unit is provided a new CO alarm is required every five years unless the manufacturer’s instructions state it has a longer life. An alarm should be fitted anywhere where there is a solid fuel or other combustion appliance. The detector should be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Security

The property must have security measures to protect against unauthorised access via both doors and windows.

In some rental types, bedroom doors might be fitted with door locks, and if this is the case these must have inner thumb-turn latches/locks to allow key-free escape in the event of a fire.

Garden gates if provided with locks should have inner locks/latches that enable outward access without the use of a key.

Facilities

This will vary according to the property and number of occupants and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and Licensable HMOs will have different requirements to those below. Please contact your local authority to discuss further. The Councils’ HMO Standards which detail the requirements can be found on the relevant Council’s website.

Room Sizes

Minimum room sizes are subject to each room being of a shape offering adequate useable living space. For HMO use the following room sizes apply:

  • 6.51m2 for a single bedroom where a lounge and kitchen or adequately sized kitchen diner is shared.
  • 10.2m2 for a single bedroom where a kitchen is shared without a shared lounge.
  • 10.2m2 for a double bedroom where a lounge or dining room or adequately sized kitchen diner is shared.
  • 15m2 for a double bedroom where a kitchen is shared without a shared lounge area.
  • 13m2 for a one roomed unit with kitchen facilities for a single person.
  • 15m2 for a double occupancy one roomed unit with kitchen facilities for a single person.
  • Multi-room units will be subject to different room sizes and the inspecting officer will advise accordingly
  • Sloping ceilings. Any areas of the room with a ceiling height of less than 1.5 metres will be discounted. For the rest of the room 50% of the floor to ceiling height must be at least 2.4 metres.
  • Living room space required is dependent upon the number of occupants. For 4-6 occupants a living room of at least 13m2 is required, with an additional 1.5m2 per occupant after that. There must be enough space to provide adequate seating for the number of occupants and be of a suitable shape and layout.
  • For single household properties the room sizes may vary slightly.

Bathrooms and WCs

In an HMO for up to every 5 occupants the landlord must provide:

  • One full-size bath or temperature-controlled shower (of minimum dimensions 750mm x 750mm). Shower units must have appropriate screens or curtains, as applicable.
  • One WC with wash hand basin in the same compartment provided with constant hot and cold water supplies and connected to a suitable foul drainage system.
  • Where the above are provided for four occupants or fewer the bath/shower and WC can be within the same room. Where there are five occupants the bath/shower and WC must be in separate rooms.
  • For more than six occupants, additional bathroom and WC facilities are required as per the Councils’ HMO Standards. For 6-10 occupants, two bath/shower rooms to include a WC and basin are required.

Bath/Shower rooms must be provided with:

  • mechanical extract ventilation at a rate of 15 litres /second to the open air is required, even if there is an openable window present
  • splash backs to baths/basins; adequate wall tiling or other suitable waterproof finish to showers.
  • an adequate drying area.
  • easily cleanable floor and wall surfaces. NB – floor coverings should be slip resistant. Carpets are not considered suitable.
  • separate WC’s must be provided with a wash hand basin located in the same room and supplied with hot and cold water.
  • If there is no natural ventilation, i.e. a window, to a separate WC compartment, the room must be provided with mechanical extract ventilation to the outside air with an extraction rate of at least 6 litres/ second.

Kitchens

The Landlord must ensure that all kitchens have a safe layout suitable for the number of tenants. The work surfaces, walls and floor must have readily cleanable finishes and be in good repair. Kitchen walls adjacent to cookers, sinks and food preparation areas must be provided with impervious splash backs. There must also be adequate storage facilities, to be kept in good repair.

The kitchen must be provided with the following:

  • Sink with impervious draining board. For up to 5 occupants 1 sink with impervious draining board. For 6-10 occupants 2 sinks with impervious draining board is required.
  • An adequate supply of cold and constant hot water to each sink.
  • Where the rented property is a single household let, appropriate cooking facilities must be provided if included within the tenancy. Where a property is a HMO, facilities for the cooking of food to include a 4-ring hob and oven for up to 5 occupants. For 6 occupants or more additional cooking facilities are required as per the Councils’ HMO Standards
  • Sufficient worktop/food preparation space is required that offers 0.5m length x 600mm depth per person
  • Provide at least 300mm of worktop either side of the hob.
  • Adequate cupboards for the storage of food and kitchen utensils.
  • Where a property is let furnished, for up to 5 persons provide refrigerators of 75 litres (0.075 cubic metres) and freezers of 110 litres (0.11 cubic metres). Additional fridge/freezer capacity to be increased proportionately for each additional occupant.
  • Where white goods (fridge, freezer, washing machine, dishwasher, etc.) require replacement, a new appliance with a high energy efficiency rating must be provided. Replacement with second-hand items is not appropriate.
  • Adequate refuse bins. It is advisable to provide separate kitchen and bathroom waste bin for refuse and recyclable material.
  • Mechanical Extractor fan to the open air with an extract rate of 30 litres/sec if it is adjacent to a cooker/hob, or 60 litres/ sec if located elsewhere. A hood over the hob is always preferred, where possible.

Furniture

The Landlord must ensure all furniture is in good condition and fit for purpose and labelled to show compliance with Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations. Any furniture left by previous tenants becomes the responsibility of the landlord and must be checked to ensure it is safe to remain and compliant with current legislation or otherwise disposed of.

Waste disposal

The Landlord must ensure an adequate number of bins (of a suitable size) are provided and the tenants are aware of the waste disposal arrangements in the area including collection days and items to be recycled. Details are available on the applicable Council’s website. HMOs may require a commercial bin collection contract to be in place.

Garden

The Landlord must ensure gardens are kept in a well-maintained condition by means of a written agreement signed by both the landlord and the tenants. This should be incorporated into the tenancy agreement. If the property is an HMO the landlord will be responsible for maintaining the gardens.

Energy Efficiency

The landlord must provide an efficient whole property fixed heating system fitted with appropriate time and temperature controls that is capable of reaching and maintaining 21oc in living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms and 18oC in all other areas when the external temperature is -1oc, and reach these temperatures within one hour of being switched on.

  • Gas or oil-fired central heating systems must be fitted with individual thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) and an overall timer/programmer and room thermostat.
  • Electric storage heaters must be fuse-spurred into the electrical supply and have a dual input function – one on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 supply and an override function for “top-up” outside of the economy rate hours.
  • Electric panel heaters that are only supplied via a peak-rate tariff are not considered acceptable.
  • Minimum roof insulation amount to meet current Building Regulations (u-values) must be provided.
  • Provide cavity wall insulation where suitable.
  • A factory foam-lagged or well-fitted hot water cylinder tank jacket of at least 80mm thickness, or cylinder with in-built lagging.
  • Hot water tanks must be fitted with a timer and temperature-controlled thermostat.
  • All Accredited properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least D (unless a valid exemption has been registered).

Windows

All sleeping rooms must have an adequately sized openable window providing an openable area of at least 1/10th of the floor area to provide natural ventilation directly to the open air. Patio doors and French doors are not suitable for ventilation. Windows must be in satisfactory repair, maintained, weathertight and able to be opened and closed freely. Ideally, where possible, for energy efficiency reasons windows should be double or secondary glazed. All double-glazing should be free of “blown” panels, i.e. free of condensation between panes. All windows that have blown must be appropriately repaired or replaced. Ground floor bedroom windows should be provided with suitable keyless restrictors to provide adequate ventilation and security.

Fire Safety

Landlords or managing agents of all HMO properties must ensure they have an up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment document undertaken by a suitably qualified and competent person (this is likely to be a Professional Fire Risk Assessor in the first instance and few landlords/owners would have the appropriate knowledge to undertake it themselves) and ensure this is reviewed on a regular basis. This is to be in accordance with the Housing Act 2004, LACORS Guidance and all current guidance. The inspecting officer will advise on what fire safety measures are required in HMOs based on the individual property type, layout, occupation and risks having regard to the guidance. This may include items not contained within the Fire Risk Assessment if considered appropriate or recommended in guidance.

In single household properties a smoke detector, preferably mains-powered with integral battery back-up, is required on each storey of the property, including basements and loft rooms.

Inner rooms, that is a room accessible only by passing through another room are to be avoided and the inspecting officer will advise accordingly in such instances and may require alternative escape routes or other mitigation to be put in place.

Legionella

The Landlord must ensure the risk of exposure to legionella is assessed and controlled. All water systems require an assessment of the risk which landlords can carry out themselves if they are competent or employ somebody who is. In most residential settings, a simple assessment may show that the risks are low, and no further action may be necessary. For more information, please visit www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires

What you must provide for your tenants

The landlord must supply the tenants with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement (either “joint” or “individual”). The agreement must include:

  • Name, address and contact numbers of landlord and managing agent (if latter applicable)
  • Details of person on whom Notices should be served (England & Wales)
  • Tenant name(s)
  • Address of property to be rented
  • The term of the tenancy and start date

The agreement must be written in plain clear language with no legal jargon or unfair terms and state clearly:-

  • The rent payable, due date and payment method
  • The deposit payable and details of when it will be refunded and the deposit scheme being used
  • Whether there are any other service charges and the method of arriving at such charges
  • Council tax implications
  • Who is responsible for garden maintenance
  • Who pays the utility bills or whether included in the rent payment
  • The landlord’s obligations
  • The tenant(s) obligations
  • Any mutual agreements
  • The landlord must provide each tenant with a valid Energy Performance Certificate. For Accreditation a minimum D rating is required.
  • A copy of the “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” booklet. (Available on-line).
  • Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) with no Code 1 or Code 2 items shown on it
  • Landlords must undertake the appropriate “Right to Rent” Document Checks (if applicable to their tenants).

If the landlord wishes to take a monetary deposit, they must safeguard it in a statutory Government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme.

The Landlord must supply an Inventory at the beginning of each tenancy. The inventory must list all the furniture and equipment supplied by the landlord and a detailed description of the condition. Photographs are beneficial. Reference must also be made to the condition of the floor covering and décor. The inventory must be agreed by the tenants.

Student Houses

For properties rented to students and advertised via the University of Chichester Accommodation portal, specific furniture must be provided. The requirements can be found on the University’s website.

Complaints and Appeals Procedure

Any problems or complaints relating to the Accreditation Scheme that the Accreditation Officer has been unable to resolve must be made in writing to the Housing Team Manager by the owner/ manager. A written response will be given within 14 days.

Landlords who are aggrieved by the Council’s decision can appeal to the Accreditation Appeals Panel, which will include the relevant Portfolio Holder for the relevant authority, the Housing Team Manager from the partner authority and an Accreditation Scheme Landlord Representative from the applicable area.

Appeals must be made in writing to the appropriate Team Manager, depending on which district the property is located in. The Panel will aim to meet within 21 days of the appeal being submitted. The Panel may ask for witnesses to either be present or provide a written statement. The determination of the Panel, to uphold, amend or reverse the previous decision, is final and will be notified to relevant parties within 7 days of the hearing.

If you have any further questions about the scheme or would like to submit an application, please contact the relevant authority below:

Chichester District Council
Housing Standards Team,
East Pallant House, 1 East Pallant, Chichester PO19 1T
Tel: 01243 521165/521130 or
email: accreditation@chichester.gov.uk
www.chichester.gov.uk

Arun District Council
Private Sector Housing and Public Health,
3rd floor, Arun Civic Centre,
Maltravers Road,
Littlehampton BN17 5LF
Tel: 01903 737755
email: accreditation@arun.gov.uk
www.arun.gov.uk