The main purpose of the Unipol/AfS Code is to establish a voluntary national benchmark standard for off-street student accommodation that is understood by students and their parents. As members of the voluntary Code, landlords demonstrate to students and parents, through completion of the landlord training and verification inspections (of 1-in-5 of their properties) that they meet those recognised standards.
You may already be signed up to a local or national accreditation scheme, and there is a discounted fee available to landlords who are accredited under a recognised scheme. The problem with being accredited under a local scheme is that the scheme is often not recognised by those students and parents who are looking to rent a property through a national website. Membership of the Unipol/AfS Code is a recognised by students and tenants as offering clear standards, best practice and the reassurance that landlords have voluntarily committed to meeting standards, undertaking training and recieving verification visits.
Click here to find out how to join.
As members of the Code, landlords and agents receive:
- enhanced advertising of their accredited properties on the Accommodation for Students website
- positive recognition from students and their parents of meeting best practice standards
- reassurance that the Code has been promoted to students by student organisations and is understood and recognised as best practice by the best tenants
As a Code member, you:
- Stand out to potential tenants
- Demonstrate that you meet clear benchmark standards.
- Reassure students and parents you are providing a best practice service
Code Members receive:
- access to an on-line tenancy generator (launching 10th October 2011)
- regular newsletters
- membership of the Landlord Forum
- discounts on training
As a Code member it is more likely that:
- misunderstandings and disputes with tenants are reduced
- where problems do occur they can be promptly resolved
For more information on what the Unipol/AfS Code offers, click the links below.
Clear benchmark standards
Designed for landlords and agents managing off-street properties for shared student living (up to 14 occupants per unit), the Unipol Code/AfS sets a number of clear benchmark standards which are realistic and achievable by property suppliers and managers.
The standards reflect established best practice in the sector and are based on what a reasonable student and their parents would expect of a good quality landlord.
Establishing reasonable practice
The standards determine, for both members and consumers, what is reasonable in a given set of circumstances and can be used productively to establish what is reasonable in managing a property.
Accommodation for Students (AfS) ensures that a landlord's agreement to comply with the Unipol/AfS Code is made clear on property adverts. Accredited properties are given priority location on the AfS website. AfS's letting system and the Unipol/AfS Code are actively and positively promoted among students searching for housing. It is frequently the policy of universities, colleges and their students' unions to advise their students only to rent a property where the owner is accredited.
The Code is badged by an easily recognisable and web friendly "thumbs up" logo.
Evidence from successful student accreditation schemes shows that accredited landlords generally get better tenants and their properties let more swiftly. In surplus markets the chances of voids is lessened.
Access to an online tenancy generator
Landlords who join the Code may use an online tenancy generator. This enables them to modify a template tenancy agreement and to produce bespoke documentation (coming soon).
Accredited landlords are sent newsletters on topical stories, trends and opportunities in the sector.
Verification exercises as a management and development tool
All members of the Codes are verified once every three years (Click here for further information on how standards are checked.) These verification visits are carried out independently by established experts in the field. Many landlords use their verification process as a management tool to ensure that their policies, documentation and procedures are fully up to date and in order. The property verification visit can be a valuable motivational and developmental tool for landlords and for any staff involved. The vast majority of verification inspections, whilst always taken seriously, are a positive and rewarding occasion.
Discounts on training
Accredited landlords get discounts on quality professional development events designed and delivered by experts in the sector, including Unipol Training.
Benefits in short
Point by point the benefits of joining and being a member of the Codes are that:
- both landlords and tenants enjoy the benefit of good standards of housing management and practice
- benchmark standards are established and clearly stated
- enhanced marketing and commercial advantage
- verification is carried out independently
- all tenants and members have a right to access the complaints and independent Tribunal system, if serious disputes cannot be informally resolved through the National Codes Administrator
- misunderstandings and disputes are reduced
- where problems do occur they are promptly resolved