ABSTRACT

What is accreditation and how does it fit into the overall scheme of governance of the private rented sector (PRS) of housing? ‘Governance’ is used in contra-distinction to ‘regulation’; for the latter implies a system of ‘command and control’ regulation operated by an enforcing central or local government body with powers to punish those who do not comply with a set of legal rules. Accreditation, which began with early pioneer schemes in the 1990s 1 is based on voluntary compliance by landlords with codes of standards and practices relating to the standard of their properties and their relationships with tenants. The ‘carrot’ based approach of accreditation centres on the argument that it encourages landlords to adopt ‘good’ management practices by conferring on them a market advantage. Insofar as there is a ‘stick’ element in accreditation, it is that those who having sought accredited status and who then fail to comply, can lose it, maybe with consequent bad publicity. This might be embarrassing to larger scale landlords operating on a regional or national basis: it is more questionable whether small local landlords feel subject to the same constraints, particularly in areas where there is no lack of demand for accommodation and only a limited supply.