Frequently asked questions for tenants

Peace of mind that your rental accommodation is safe and compliant

About the scheme

  • What is the PAL accreditation scheme?
    PAL is a landlord and property accreditation scheme that aims to improve the standard of privately rented accommodation in Welwyn Hatfield. The free and voluntary scheme recognises landlords and agents that meet their legal obligations and those that go above and beyond to provide quality homes.
  • Who operates the PAL scheme?
    PAL was founded by the University of Hertfordshire and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC). The scheme operates from Campus East Welwyn Garden City.
  • Who can be accredited?
    Any landlord operating in Welwyn Hatfield can become an accredited landlord, providing they are abiding by all relevant legislation. Letting and managing agents can apply to become accredited partners.  Other organisations that support the scheme can apply to become PAL supporters.
  • How do landlords and agents become accredited?
    In order to become accredited, landlords and agents have to apply, pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test and sign our Code of Practice for landlords or Code of Practice for partners. We inspect a proportion of landlords’ properties to ensure they meet all legal requirements. Letting and managing agents undergo a review of their management procedures and if necessary, we will inspect some of their properties to ensure they meet the PAL standard.  Only on satisfactory completion of all stages are landlords and agents awarded accreditation.
  • Are all properties checked by PAL?
    PAL checks, at random, at least one in five properties owned by landlords when awarding accreditation. Accreditation lasts three years during which PAL will check all of a landlord’s properties.  PAL will only check letting and managing agents’ properties if we need further clarification or if we have a record of a complaint on any of the properties.
  • What happens if properties aren’t up to standard?
    If a property is inspected by PAL prior to accreditation and is found not to meet the required standards of the scheme, the landlord or agent will not receive accreditation. If a property of an accredited landlord or agent is subsequently found to not meet the required standards, then we will agree a timescale by which the landlord or agent needs to address any issues.  If the issues are not addressed promptly, the landlord or agent could lose their accreditation.
  • Does the scheme require anything from tenants?
    As a tenant of an accredited landlord or agent you are expected to sign a declaration to agree to be a good tenant. The terms of this declaration include abiding by the terms of your tenancy agreement, looking after the property and not causing a nuisance to your neighbours.  If your landlord is looking to get accredited or your agent is looking to accredit your property, you may be asked for your comments during the PAL property inspection to ensure that you are happy with the service provided to you by your landlord or agent.

Benefiting from the scheme

  • Why choose an accredited property?
    Choosing an accredited property gives you peace of mind that your home is safe and in good repair, that your landlord or agent is meeting all their legal requirements and looking after the welfare of their tenants.
  • What is an accredited landlord and agent required to do?
    An accredited landlord or agent is required to ensure that they are fair to you as tenants, that your property meets all relevant rental property management legislation, is safe and in good repair.
  • How do I know if my landlord or agent is accredited?
    Search our database of accredited landlords and agents to find out if yours is accredited. Accredited landlords and agents are entitled to use the PAL accredited landlord or partner logo so look out for this in agents’ windows or on communications from your landlord or agent.
  • How can I find an accredited property?
    Search our database of accredited properties, landlords and agents and look out for the PAL accredited property logo.
  • How do I give feedback on my landlord or agent?
    If you would like to give positive or negative feedback on your landlord or agent, please contact the PAL using our online feedback form, by telephone on 01707 357366 or by email at administrator@PAL-online.org.uk.
  • What should I do if I don’t think my property is compliant?
    If your property is accredited and you don’t think it is compliant with legislation or the PAL Property Rental Standards, then please contact the PAL team via the online feedback form, by email at administrator@PAL-online.org.uk or by telephone on 01707 357366. If your property is not accredited and you don’t think it is compliant with legislation, then please contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01707 357 672.
  • What is a gold standard accredited property?
    A ‘gold standard accredited property’ is one that has been certified by PAL as not only meeting but exceeding the legal requirements as set out in the PAL Rental Property Standards. For a property to be gold accredited, it must be managed by an accredited landlord or an accredited partner.