Dorset Council Launches Initiative for Landlords to Certify Property Safety

Dorset Council is spearheading an innovative approach to ensure the safety and compliance of rental properties in Weymouth and Portland through its Safer Renting scheme. The initiative, which has been operational since last year, invites landlords to voluntarily certify that their properties meet essential safety standards.

Since its inception, the Safer Renting scheme has seen a positive response, with 75% of contacted landlords already participating. These landlords have benefited from tailored advice and resources to help them adhere to their legal obligations.

Landlords participating in the scheme are required to fill out a form detailing their property’s compliance with key safety regulations. This includes maintaining up-to-date gas safety certificates, electrical condition reports, and installing smoke detectors on every floor of the property.

Councillor Jane Somper, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, Health & Housing, highlighted the program’s dual benefits: ensuring landlords meet legal standards and enhancing the overall quality and safety of rental accommodations. “This front-facing service is helping landlords comply with their legal requirements and improve standards and safety in rented properties,” she stated.

The council is actively encouraging all landlords in Weymouth and Portland to engage with the scheme by completing the online compliance form. Failure to do so may prompt the council to conduct property inspections to verify safety standards.

Upon submission of the required information, landlords receive a confirmation email along with customised advice on achieving full compliance. This guidance ranges from general checklists to more specific suggestions based on the provided property details.

The initiative also offers the opportunity for property inspections to address any identified issues, ensuring that landlords and the council can collaboratively maintain high standards in rental housing.

Additionally, the Safer Renting scheme facilitates connection to the Dorset Landlords forum, a platform for sharing best practices and fostering a community of responsible property management.

While currently a pilot program in areas with high concentrations of rental properties, there are plans to expand Safer Renting to other parts of Dorset. The council emphasizes that this initiative is not a form of registration or licensing but rather a supportive framework to assist landlords in navigating and complying with various legislative requirements.

Through Safer Renting and the Dorset Landlords forum, Dorset Council is proactively working to elevate the standard of rented accommodations, promoting safety, compliance, and best practices among landlords.