Campaigning group Generation Rent has joined forces with five local authorities to help private tenants stand up for their rental rights and get tough on rogue landlords.
It is partnering with Dundee City Council, East Suffolk Council, Gedling Borough Council, London borough of Newham, and Newport City Council to find ways the councils can be more responsive to issues and concerns, and to develop policies to better support renters, such as through enforcement or landlord licensing.
It says that while many councils around the country have landlord forums, very few have formal structures to hear from private renters.
Councils have powers to tackle unsafe homes but, according to a Survation poll, when asked what they would do if their home felt unfit to live in, private renters were more likely to try to find somewhere else to live (44%) than seek the council’s help (35%).
Alicia Kennedy (pictured, top), director of Generation Rent, says: “These local authorities have recognised the important role councils play in supporting private renters, and now want to improve the way they represent and engage private renters.
“We hope this joint work will develop new models of engagement that can be shared and built upon by other local authorities.”
Gedling Council aims to gain a better understanding of the key issues private renters are facing, says council leader John Clarke: “We’re already working with landlords on this through our selective licensing scheme, but it’s vital that we also engage with residents who are renting these properties, to get their views and plan how we can improve our services for them.”
Renters in these areas are being asked to take part in an online survey to share their renting experiences in the project which is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.
Generation Rent now working with five councils to be ‘voice of tenants’ in PRS is written by Nigel Lewis for www.landlordzone.co.uk