The BPF Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement has been endorsed by the Plain English Campaign and sets a new benchmark of clarity in explaining the rights and responsibilities of landlord and tenant in every day language, rather than legal speak.
Both initiatives come as the Government considers a positive future for the private rented sector, as set out in its Rugg Review and in anticipation of a Housing Green Paper later this year. It also comes as the Homes and Communities Agency and Mayor of London consider how best to support an expansion of institutional investment in the sector.
Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said: "There is a hell of a lot of good work going on in the private rented sector, by various organisations and Government, to cast a new deal for tenants, which expunges the sector of those who bring its good name into disrepute and provides the climate in which good landlords can thrive.
"The Government is doing its part to support the sector as a positive housing option. However, we also felt we could be doing our bit to provide occupiers with greater reassurance that they will be treated fairly and hence the agreement and code we are launching today."
The initiatives are not only meant to help tenants, but landlords. The interactive web-based agreement, for example, can be accessed by any landlord free of charge.
Sam Younger, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: "We welcome this new code of conduct and are encouraged that participating members are required to join an Ombudsman scheme. Private rented sector tenants must be able to challenge landlords and have a proper complaints procedure when problems arise.
"The BPF’s commitment to good practice will help to raise standards in the sector and improve conditions for conscientious landlords and their tenants."
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