The voluntary rental warrant of fitness scheme has only had two landlords apply, in the 6 weeks that it has been running.
The warrant, contains 63 pass-or-fail questions over 29 criteria to assess whether a house is warm, dry and safe to live in.
To gain a warrant of fitness a property must, among other things, have sufficient insulation and heating, working smoke alarms and be weathertight.
“While the numbers seem low, we’ve had good interest so far considering it’s voluntary, and we’re only six weeks into a year-long campaign,” said Ewan Gebbie, of the Sustainability Trust, which will carry out the inspections.
“We expect demand to increase with marketing efforts and in the winter months. But if it doesn’t, that shows a need for more regulation and more incentives for landlords to upgrade to a suitable standard.”
It’s free to download the inspection app and conduct a preliminary assessment before booking. It has been downloaded almost 600 times.
“We hope some of those downloads are landlords who are now making repairs or installing insulation before coming to us for an official check. Or tenants who are now speaking with their landlords about improvements that can be made.”
Property Investors Federation executive officer Andrew King, who opposed the warrant scheme throughout its conception, said he was not surprised by the low take-up.
“I don’t think it provides any real benefit at all, and I think that’s what most property owners will be thinking.”
Brian Dawson, the council’s housing portfolio leader, said it wanted to work with landlords to take up the formal inspections.
“That way their properties can get a quality mark standard and stand out in the market. We recognise this is a different way of thinking for them, but it will help us to improve housing quality and is therefore important.”
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