The Runnymede Accreditation Scheme is an initiative from the Council to ensure that all properties which are rented in Runnymede are of a reasonable living standard. Principally, it aims to provide an official certification of approval which easily allows students looking at a property to know that it is in reasonable condition and poses no health and safety issues. All accredited properties will have been inspected to ensure that certain criteria, ranging from fire safety to the condition of the furniture, meet a reasonable quality and break no building regulations.
Why is it needed? How will it benefit me?
It is important for students to be aware of the Accreditation Scheme because it serves as one of their best guides regarding the condition of a property:
- It provides students with a practical and accessible guide as to the condition of a property. The large majority of students will not be fully aware of how to identify potential problems and hazards in a household, and few students will have the time or means to arrange professional surveys of properties they view. The scheme is helping to establish a basic standard of housing quality in the local housing market. Now students are given a clear guide as to what they can reasonably expect from a property.
- Tenants make an informed choice about private accommodation. Ordinarily, students looking for private sector accommodation will make decisions on superficial conclusions, which can lead to problems and disputes later on in their tenancy. Knowing that a property has been accredited and viewed by council authorities will offer peace of mind and reduce stress when looking for a house.
- The scheme is increasingly high profile among local institutions. Royal Holloway University fully supports the scheme and is actively encouraging landlords to participate for the mutual benefit of its students and all landlords. The scheme is also strongly advocated by the Royal Holloway Students' Union, who are also encouraging students to be more aware of Accreditation.
- Landlords, tenants and community enjoy the benefit of good dwelling conditions, competent management and considerate neighbourly behaviour.
What kind of standards can I expect from an accredited property?
Accredited properties are checked on various criteria, including fire safety regulations; gas certification; heating; lighting and ventilation; energy efficiency; internal layout; security; kitchen and bathroom facilities; and general maintenance. Full details can be viewed here.
What if my house does not have accreditation?
Accreditation is becoming increasingly popular among local landlords and a majority of them will already be aware of the scheme. If a property has not received Accreditation you may want to ask a landlord or agent why this is the case. They may be in the process of applying, or they may not have sought it or Accreditation may have been denied. Try to find out if there are any problems with the property which might have prevented it from being accredited.
How do I know if my house is accredited?
The Runnymede Borough Council website has a regularly updated register of all properties in the borough which have been Accredited, which can be viewed on their website (click the 'Accredited Properties' link at the foot of this page). Royal Holloway also keeps a list of all properties known to them which are accredited, so you might want to check also with the Student Accommodation office. When you view a property always make sure you ask whether a property is accredited.
What do I need to do?
Make sure that you always ask whether a property has received Accreditation, and make sure you double check on the online register on the Runnymede Borough Council website (click the 'Accredited Properties' link at the foot of this page).
How can I find accredited properties?
Accredited properties are advertised on HouseSearch; they appear at the top of all search results. Accredited adverts have a grey background, non-accredited properties have a white background. All Accredited properties will also have the answer 'Yes' to the statement 'Accredited by the RBC?' when advertised on HouseSearch.
Where can I get further information?
For further information on the scheme please visit the Runnymede Borough Council website here, or alternatively you could email them.
Are accredited properties guaranteed against problems?
Although accredited properties are subject to periodical inspections to ensure standards are maintained, there can be no guarantee that unforeseen issues might cause problems, and as with other properties, the university is not accountable for such problems which may occur with houses advertised upon HouseSearch.
What do I do if I think my house is in breach of its accreditation terms?
If you are concerned that your property is accredited but is not up to the standards that the scheme requires, then you may wish to lodge a complaint. Further information about the terms of the scheme can be found here. You can contact the Runnymede Borough Council aware through email.