The STAA’s independent accreditation scheme is a first for short-term letting and can make a real difference for consumers and homeowners
Variety and choice are crucial pointers when people are looking at different properties to short-term let.
At the same time, consumers should always know that cleanliness is delivered to the right standard and the property they choose is marketed correctly and complies with recognised health and safety standards.
The short-term letting sector is growing quickly and individual hosts are providing accommodation as well as many different companies who are successfully growing alongside more established household names in this ecosystem and ensuring customers know what the reputable options are is extremely important.
In fact, an ever-growing number of hosts and companies are becoming members of the industry body the Short-Term Accommodation Association (STAA) from platforms to property management companies to individual hosts as well as suppliers to the industry which include specialist short-term let insurers, technology providers and everything in between.
As summer approaches, many consumers are searching to find a wonderful home to stay for their visit in the UK and homeowners who want to short-let their properties are faced with many options. Sometimes it can be difficult to navigate this landscape and compare and contrast the options and what they can offer you.
It’s for this reason the STAA developed an independent accreditation scheme, endorsed by the Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP, to help reassure consumers that the properties they want to let comply with a clear set of safety and legal requirements.
The accreditation scheme is designed, managed and delivered by Quality in Tourism, an independent organisation which is synonymous with improving standards and benchmarking businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry, having the experience of running the Visit England scheme for more than 20 years.
What does the accreditation scheme mean?
The accreditation scheme is like a ‘kite-mark’, and means that homeowners who want to rent out their property for a week or two while they go on holiday, through to companies than manage homes for people, will be independently checked every year to ensure that properties are:
SAFE: which means health and safety and fire risk are in place – e.g. each property has an up-to-date gas certificate and working carbon monoxide detectors
CLEAN: each property is appropriately clean and comfortable as any guest should expect and achieves minimum standards the same as you would expect in the traditional accommodation sector (e.g. hotels, B&Bs etc.)
LEGAL: which means compliant – each property is insured and complies with laws and is appropriately insured
Who can apply for the accreditation scheme?
Both individual homeowners and property management companies can subscribe to the accreditation scheme. Accreditation lasts for 12 months and ensures that consumers are protected, and properties are fit for purpose.
1. For homeowners/hosts
Accreditation is straightforward and requires homeowners/hosts to complete an online application form, make payment and email copies of insurance documents to Quality in Tourism (QIT).
QIT will then organise for an assessor to visit your home to make checks before awarding a Safe, Clean and Legal™ accreditation for 12 months if you home has passed the assessment.
Some homeowners/hosts will be required to get accreditation to market their home with a specific agency or platform and this may be part of your fees already or they may ask you to apply directly.
2. For property management companies
Via partnership with the STAA, QIT is working with short-let companies to assure the quality of their delivery and is used as an impartial benchmark to validate your operations and demonstrate to consumers you work to the required set of industry standards. This is a great mark of quality and can be a good marketing tool to ensure consumer confidence in your business.
For company accreditation you will go through a company process and standards review and a % of your properties will be inspected to be awarded Safe, Clean and Legal™ accreditation for 12 months as a company.
Why should I get accredited?
The STAA accreditation scheme is a great way to set you apart from others in the market and provide your potential guests with the confidence that you are a reputable option This can be a powerful marketing tool. It is also a consultative process where you will learn how you and your team can improve your business and ensure you are delivering to all the standards, reducing risk and helping you to have a more successful business.
How do I go about applying?
Very easy. Please click here to fill in the very simple online application form and we will contact you with more information and answer any questions that you may have.
Merilee Karr, Founder and CEO of UnderTheDoormat and Chairperson for the Short-Term Accommodation association
Merilee has led the development of the accreditation scheme to help establish visible standards for the industry in the UK and beyond. She is passionate about professionalising the industry and ensuring that the industry grows responsibly so that communities, government and consumers have confidence in the industry, and it has the best chance of reaching the enormous growth that is possible (the consultancy PWC projects the industry will be £52 billion industry in the UK by 2025).
The Safe Clean and Legal kitemark is the first step to establishing that baseline standard across the country and is an example of how industry can lead the way in setting standards as we grow.