Join a Code

The Codes – overview of what they are
Purpose
Why become a member?
The different Codes
Meet your Codes Team
Further detail on how the Codes work: checking standards and handling complaints
Managing agents – Supporters of the Code
Interested? Next steps
Joining the AFS/Unipol Code
Fees

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
  • housing management
  • 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.

As a member of the Code you will be able to badge your properties with the Code logo. 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.

Purpose

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 become a member?

Key advantages

There are many advantages to signing up to one of the Codes. First and foremost:

  • endorsement – Unipol, the students’ unions, universities and colleges always recommend that wherever possible students should rent from a Code provider and will promote the value of accreditation to students
  • market advantage – Unipol Code membership demonstrates a level of professionalism prized by students, parents and institutions, and is a market-recognised badge of the high standard you and your property have met. This gives you an advantage in a competitive housing market, increasing the potential to let your properties, particularly ahead of non-Code accommodation
  • promotion – on the Unipol website all Code properties are displayed ahead of, and are clearly distinguished from, non-Code properties
  • access to the market – only Code members can advertise in the Unipol Tabloid, which has an extensive circulation, giving you unrivalled access to the market
  • discounts – being a Code member entitles you to discounts on advertising with Unipol. In Leeds and Nottingham Code landlords also receive discounts on local authority HMO licensing

Most importantly, membership demonstrates your commitment to continuing improvement in student housing.

Other benefits

There are also other benefits that could reduce administration, save money, give peace of mind and build your profile and business within the student market. These are:

  • having the certainty that an objective frame of reference for housing management gives you
  • helping ensure that tenants understand they have responsibilities as well as rights
  • less time spent on dealing with disputes  / complaints, thanks to greater clarity on mutual expectations and a written procedure for handling complaints
  • lower turnover of tenants and reduced void periods
  • adding value to your properties, possibly commanding higher rents
  • less misuse of properties
  • training opportunities to enable you to provide a properly professional service and to reduce exposure to the risk of legal non-compliance and its possible consequences
  •  networking and enhanced scope for business deals with peers
  • opportunities for you to participate in the Code’s development, monitoring and review
  • an improved relationship with, and sense of participation in the activities of, local government and strategy development

The different Codes

Unipol administers:

  • the Unipol Code for shared student housing, which accredits private landlords in Leeds, Bradford and Nottingham (there is a version for each city)
  • the Unipol Code for owner/occupiers who rent out rooms in their own homes in the student private rented sector in Leeds, Bradford and Nottingham (there is a version for each city)
  •  two National Codes that accredit large student housing developments (over 15 students) – one for education institutions and one for commercial providers
  • The AFS/Unipol Code – a national accreditation framework for the web-based market in smaller shared student properties within the private sector

Read the full content of the Codes here:

Unipol CODE for Shared Student Housing in Private Rented Sector 

Leeds             Bradford             Nottingham

National Codes for Larger Developments

National

For Owner Occupiers Providing Accommodation in their own Homes in the Student Private Rented Sector

Leeds             Bradford             Nottingham

Unipol CODE for Owner Occupiers Providing Homestay Accommodation

Bradford

AFS/Unipol Code for Shared Student Properties

National

Meet your Codes Team

Before you start form filling, you may want to check which Code is right for you and your portfolio – you may also want some further personalised advice. Click here to find out more.

Further detail on how the Codes work: checking standards and handling complaints

How standards are 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. Click here for more information about the verification process.

The complaints process

To underpin the setting and verification of accommodation and customer service standards, the Codes have 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. It can also make recommendations to other bodies. If you want to know more about the detail of how the complaints process works, click here.

Managing agents – Supporters of the Code

Managing agents in Leeds and Nottingham who are working towards Code membership can be Supporters of the Code.

http://www.unipol.org.uk/getmedia/ffde098f-a8ee-4828-95eb-20ed3d0d146f/COS-Thumbs-Up-Supporter-logo.jpg.aspx

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, which is reviewed annually, 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 education 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 whether 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.

The AfS/ Unipol Code

Details of the AFS/Unipol Code and how to join can be found here

Interested? Next steps

  • Read more about the Codes – download a copy from the links above.

Apply for membership: Complete the form below and we will contact you within five working days.

  • Arrange a date for us to come out to inspect your property/ies. Membership of the Code is only confirmed once we’ve completed the verification process – more about which can be found here.

Fees

A fee is payable to join some of the Codes in Leeds and Nottingham, details of which can be found here. Membership of the Bradford Code is free. Details of fees to join the National Codes for Larger Developments can be found here.

 

Join the code

Just fill in this form and we’ll start the verification process. We’ll be in contact within the next five working days to confirm your details and set up dates to come out to inspect your property/ies.



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