Frequently asked questions for landlords

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 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.
  • What are the benefits of being accredited?
    PAL offers landlords many benefits including: public recognition, advice and training, free promotion and local discounts. Being PAL accredited will give tenants confidence in your properties and help you stand out from the competition.
    Link to benefits page
  • Who can be accredited?
    Any landlord operating in Welwyn Hatfield can become accredited, providing they are abiding by all relevant legislation. Letting and management agents can apply to become accredited partners.  Other organisations that support the scheme can apply to become PAL supporters.
  • How much does landlord membership cost?
    Membership is free to all landlords operating in Welwyn Hatfield.

Becoming accredited

  • Do I need any skills or abilities?
    Becoming a PAL accredited landlord doesn’t require anything further than abiding by landlord and tenant law as well as management regulations if you operate any HMOs. All you need is awareness of the relevant legislation and a commitment to maintaining that knowledge and abiding by the requirements.
  • How do I become accredited?
    To become accredited, you need to complete our application form, pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test, undergo property inspection and commit to follow the Code of Practice and meet the PAL Rental Property Standards for HMOs and PAL Rental Property Standards for single occupancy properties.
  • How long does it take to become accredited?
    Accreditation can be obtained within four to six weeks if you are able to submit the relevant documentation promptly and your properties pass the PAL inspection. This timeframe enables us to give landlords and tenants at least ten days’ notice prior to property inspections.
  • Who is a fit and proper person?
    A fit and proper person is someone who has not committed any offences or had actions taken against them as detailed in the Housing Act 2004. Convictions for harassment, discrimination and legal orders may disqualify an applicant.
  • What is the Code of Practice?
    It is a declaration which all PAL members sign as part of the application process, committing themselves to managing and maintaining their properties and tenancies to the standards set out in the PAL Rental Property Standards and meeting all their legal requirements. It also requires landlords to act in a manner not to bring the scheme into disrepute.
  • What are the PAL Property Rental Standards?
    The PAL Property Rental Standards outline the requirements which your properties need to meet to ensure they are legally compliant, which is the basic principle of the PAL accreditation scheme.  They also outline the supplementary requirements required for ‘gold accredited landlords’.
  • How long does accreditation last?
    Accreditation lasts for three years. After that, accreditation status will be renewed as long as you have conformed to the PAL Code of Practice throughout, are still a fit and proper person and you are up to date with relevant legislation.
  • What happens if I fail the application?
    If you are unable to complete the accreditation process, we will discuss the reasons why with you. If you need to make changes to your property or obtain further paperwork, we will agree a timetable for these activities with you.  If these issues are overcome you can then go on to become an accredited landlord.

Benefiting from the scheme

  • How can I keep up to date with legislation?
    WHBC provides training courses, information forums and other resources to help you keep up to date; some of these are only accessible to accredited agents and landlords. We also have a legal advice helpline available to accredited landlords and agents which you can use if you need clarification on any legal matters.
  • How do I access the offers and discounts?
    On award of your accreditation status, you will be given login details for the members’ portal on our website.  In this members-only section of the website you will find full details of the offers and discounts as well as additional resources available.