A voluntary accreditation scheme is an arrangement under which suppliers of rented housing voluntarily agree to meet a set of benchmark standards relating to:
- the physical condition of the accommodation
- housing management
- the relationship between landlord and tenants
Accreditation is a means of codifying standards in order to promote best practice. It is also about landlords making themselves accountable to scheme operators and, ultimately, to consumers.
Schemes are administered by an independent body to check that the required standards are met. Independent bodies currently running schemes include:
- local authorities
- higher education institutions (HEIs)
- students' unions
- voluntary sector organisations acting as the agents of HEIs
- landlord associations
- joint partnership schemes
Generally, there are incentives to membership, such as public recognition of having met the scheme standards, access to information and advice, advertising of accredited properties, or (less frequently) access to publicly financed grant aid with the cost of building work.