STAA rolls out independent UK accreditation scheme

UK: The Short-Term Accommodation Association ( STAA ), the trade body for the short-term let and home-sharing sector, has announced it is rolling out the first independent accreditation scheme for the industry in the UK.
The STAA sector trade body, which was formed in 2017, has sought to continually raise the bar for industry standards for the short-term rental sector, by promoting and driving best practice among its members in the UK.

The accreditation scheme follows the launch of a successful pilot programme in June 2018. It is designed, managed and delivered by the Quality in Tourism independent organisation, which drives up standards and benchmarks businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry, having run the Visit England scheme for over 20 years.

The STAA accreditation scheme is said to be like a ‘kite-mark’, meaning that homeowners who want to rent out their property for a short-term period while on holiday and companies who manage homes, will undergo independent checks every year to ensure that properties are:

SAFE: Health and safety and fire risk are in place so each property has an up to date gas certificate and working carbon monoxide detectors

CLEAN: Each property is as clean and comfortable as any guest should expect and achieves minimum standards equivalent to the traditional sector

LEGAL: Each property is compliant and insured, while complying with the appropriate laws

Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA and CEO & founder of home accommodation provider UnderTheDoormat said: “This is a really exciting announcement for the short-term letting industry in the UK and beyond. As CEO of a member company, as well STAA chair, I am passionate about setting the bar for high standards in our growing industry and delighted that short-term accommodation hosts and property management companies can now all apply to be independently assessed and accredited on their ‘safe, clean and legal’ standards.

“It is a great example of the concrete steps that the STAA is taking to increase consumer transparency and create an environment for the responsible growth of the short-term accommodation industry,” she added.

Heather Wheeler, housing minister, Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government, said: “Short-term lettings help households to boost their income by renting out their under-used accommodation, which in turn promotes economic growth through tourism. However, it is crucial that consumers can have confidence in the accommodation they book and in those responsible for sharing, hosting and managing that accommodation.

“We supported the STAA’s work with Westminster City Council to set up the Considerate Nightly Let Charter last year, helping hosts to avoid disrupting their neighbours. I am delighted to see the STAA taking further steps to drive up standards and promote best practice by introducing this independent accreditation scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – and leading the way in creating a set of standards to help consumers navigate our growing sharing economy,” she added.

Deborah Heather, director at Quality in Tourism, said: “Quality in Tourism is delighted to have worked with the STAA to evolve this accreditation. The changing face of the industry means we need to help both operators and consumers to get not only what they want in terms of modern products and options, but what they also need in terms of compliance and safety.

“The accreditation acts as a safety net for everyone, it makes sure operators are meeting their obligations and consumers are protected, and it is a relatively easy and cheap way of ensuring you and your guests are protected. We look forward to working with STAA and other countries to offer a truly global approach to accreditation in order to protect both consumers and operators,” she added.

For more information, visit the STAA website here.

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