Bournemouth Council has become the first local authority in England to launch a regional 'accredited landlords' register.
The register, which also covers Poole, Christchurch, East Dorset and Purbeck is intended to deal poorly-maintained properties and anti-social behaviour from tenants.
The register holds details of accredited landlords as well as a list of their properties and will be posted on council websites. Tenants can look to see if their landlord is listed, and if so can approach the accreditation body directly with any complaints.
Bournemouth Council cabinet member for housing Robert Lawton said this would allow enforcement staff to focus more resources on problem landlords and properties.
“To get this accreditation landlords need to meet certain criteria, so if they are on the register our officers know they have well-run properties,” he said.
“They can then concentrate on those landlords who, for whatever reason, are not signed up, and will be better able to tackle the various problems caused by HMOs (houses of multiple occupation), particularly in the Boscombe and Winton areas.”
Urgent complaints, such as broken boilers or electrics, will still be dealt with by council officers.
The three accreditation schemes are run by the National Landlords Association, the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlord Accreditation Scheme.
The first landlords signed up to the scheme received certificates at a launch event on Friday, where Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood praised the scheme for being locally-led and focussing on co-operation.
Julia Carter, a Bournemouth landlord since 1977, welcomed the scheme.
“With this accreditation we can get a lot more support to help us deal with the various problems which come up from time to time, and it will also make it easier to get tenants as they can see we are approved by the council,” she said.
Bournemouth Council's private sector housing manager Nicky Thomas said the register was one of the first of its kind in the country.
“This came out of our discussions with landlords over the HMO problem in Winton, where the landlords associations said why not work with them rather than against them,” she said.
“We will be encouraging more landlords to go on the accreditation courses, and bringing more local authorities in Dorset on board.”