PRIVATE landlords in Sheffield will be encouraged to bring their homes up to scratch under plans to create a citywide accreditation scheme.
Sheffield Council is concerned that the quality of some private-rented accommodation lags behind council housing, which is undergoing a £700 million revamp.
Homes provided by private landlords is a growing sector in Sheffield’s housing market due to lack of new building and many people being priced out of buying their own home.
Data from the 2011 Census, released late last year, showed the proportion of Sheffield people owning their own home fell 60.15 per cent in 2001 to 58.7 per cent last year.
Nationally, 64 per cent of people owned their own homes, down from 68 per cent in 2001.
Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “I would like private-rented housing to have tighter regulation but legislation is something we have no control over.
“What we are proposing is to set up a responsible landlord accreditation scheme.”
Improving private-rented housing is one of the priorities identified in a report by Sheffield’s Fairness Commission published last week, which aims to close the gap in quality of life between rich and poor areas.
Coun Dore added: “The plan would be that landlords have their homes inspected and given accreditation.
“When people are looking to rent a home, they will see which properties are approved under the scheme and choose those homes rather than others.
“As more landlords join up those who don’t will have less custom so the hope would be that they get involved, too, and standards are increased across the board.”
But Nick Riddle, a chartered surveyor from Sheffield-based property firm ELR, said: “I don’t think the idea will make any difference.
“If it’s not compulsory why would a landlord sign up to have to pay another administration fee.
“There are plenty of accreditation schemes out there already such as through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and ARLA, which we insist our landlords are signed up to.
“There are less-scrupulous landlords out there but what’s the incentive to join the council’s scheme?”