About the codes
The Codes: overview of what they are
Why you should rent a Code property
The different Codes
How standards are checked
The complaints process
The Codes – overview of what they are
The Codes Unipol runs are voluntary accreditation schemes – ie 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
the relationship between landlord and tenants.
Unipol, as independent scheme operator, has robust systems for checking that landlords comply with the required standards. Additionally, if students – or landlords or neighbours in the community – want to make a complaint, there is an equally robust process for ensuring a fair hearing and appropriate decision and remedy where complaints are upheld.
Members of the Code can badge their properties with the Code logo. Their badged adverts appear in Unipol’s online property listings either in green or blue – and are always listed first, so that they can be readily identified by students looking for accommodation.
The primary purpose of the Codes is to drive up standards in student accommodation beyond the bare legal requirements. Members need to go beyond the minimum statutory base and offer good quality, safe housing for students. But the Codes also insist on a high standard of management and customer service from the accommodation provider. This includes everything, from the promptness of dealing with repairs to the way in which the provider liaises and communicates with the 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.
Why you should rent a Code property
As a student you stand to benefit considerably from renting a Code property – because the Codes:
enable you to identify good landlords
give you confidence that the property you are thinking of renting is of a good standard and is properly managed and regulated
provide you with assurance that repairs and maintenance are carried out to defined timescales
give you assurance that any deposits required will be used for specified purposes and will be returned promptly at the end of the tenancy with an explanation of any deductions made
give you clarity and transparency on contracts and on management practices and routines
show you where to go for help if problems arise and provide you with a codified complaints process, including a referral mechanism for independent consideration and decision
give general consumer protection.
The Your Code House booklet provides further information on the benefits of livings with a Code landlord.
For these reasons, we always recommend that wherever possible students rent from a landlord who has signed up to one of the Codes. In the end, signing with a Code landlord simply means peace of mind. Check here which landlords are members.
There are equally compelling reasons for landlords to become Code members – click here to see what they are.
The different Codes that Unipol runs
We run Codes for smaller student properties in Leeds, Bradford and Nottingham, but also manage two national schemes for large student housing developments - the National Code. In addition to this we also run a national accreditation scheme for smaller student properties - AFS/Unipol Code.
Download a copy of the Codes:
Leeds 2015-2018 Bradford 2016-2018 Nottingham 2014 - 2017
Leeds Bradford Nottingham
AFS/Unipol Code 2011-2016
National Codes for Larger Developments:
How are Standards Checked?
The Codes are robustly administered, have tough entry standards and suppliers are checked to make sure they meet the standards they say they do. Here is more information about the verification process.
The Complaints Process
As well as laying out accommodation and customer service standards the Codes also come with a complaints process, which can be used to resolve problems that may arise during the tenancy. Most complaints are resolved early on in the process, but if an accommodation supplier is in breach of the Code, an independent Tribunal can review the case and make a decision to remove a landlord from the Code, in addition to making recommendations to other bodies. Find out how the complaints process works here.
The majority of all complaints that Unipol receive about student housing come from the unaccredited (non-Code) landlords. It really is best to rent from a Code landlord or agent (shown either as green or blue on the website and always listed first).
Managing agents in Leeds and Nottingham who are working towards Code membership can join the Unipol Code Support scheme.
This scheme is for managing agents that are working towards full accreditation but where all of their properties are not yet at Code standard. Supporter members sign a bilateral arrangement with Unipol, reviewed quarterly, that means that an increasing number of their properties meet the standards over an agreed period of time. A sample declaration form can be downloaded here.
Supporters who constantly meet their targets can then gain full membership. Membership is for three years.
Unipol and the educational institutions recognise that managing agents working towards becoming full members should be recognised as such and advice to students stresses that these agents should be given preference over agents which have not joined any scheme.
Not all properties managed by members of the Supporters Scheme are accredited. Supporters must make clear to future and current tenants if their property is currently accredited. Students living in properties managed by Supporters have full access to the Code complaints procedure. However if the property they are living in is not currently accredited, only the management aspects of the Code will apply.
Generally, for a managing agent to gain Supporter status Unipol has to be convinced that this is a reasonable supplier with a fair proportion of their properties joining up to the Unipol Code.
Many agencies offer a "let only service". This means that the agent is responsible only for letting and not the management of the property. If you are renting a property through a let only agreement, the agent should make this very clear and should provide full information on who is responsible for actually delivering this service. They should also give you the landlord's full deails so that you can check if the landlord is part of the Unipol Code.