Generation Rent laments lack of contact between tenants and councils

A number of tenants aren’t aware of how they can challenge landlords because councils failed to provide them with information about their rights, campaign group Generation Rent said.

Only 21% of renters received the Government How to Rent Guide (or the Welsh or Scottish equivalent) when they started their tenancy, while two thirds (69%) were unaware that the local authority could help them with certain problems with their landlord, letting agent or home.

The government will change how disputes work once the changes set out in the Renters Reform White Paper come into force, as there will be a property portal to raise renters’ awareness of their rights and improve enforcement powers for councils.

Meanwhile an Ombudsman will be set up to resolve tenant-landlord disputes.

Four out of five tenants would welcome more guidance from their local authority about their rights as private renters.

Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “Private renters are at a greater risk of living in an unsafe home than any other tenure, and they are least likely to understand their rights and who can help them deal with problems.

“The government has proposed the introduction of a new portal to inform tenants, as well as new powers to raise standards. Local authorities will continue to play a critical role, but to make best use of these new tools, our Private Tenant Engagement Charter will help them better understand of renters who live locally.

“The pioneering councils we have worked with have helped shed light on a huge section of their residents who don’t get enough attention, and we’ve found that wherever you are in the country the same problems persist. Every council can improve private renters’ lives by taking just a few steps to make them more visible and make sure they are listened to.”

Half of private renters (49%) have experienced damp and mould in their rental property.

When carrying out the research Generation Rent carried out surveys, focus groups and telephone interviews with private renters in partnership with Dundee City Council, East Suffolk Council, Gedling Borough Council, London Borough of Newham, and Newport City Council.

Working with the five councils and private renters living in those areas, Generation Rent has published a Private Tenant Engagement Charter and is urging councils to adopt it.

The charter makes the following recommendations:

  • A Private Tenant Forum to allow renters to talk about issues they are having and get support with resolving them
  • An online one-stop-shop and a local Private Tenant Pack
  • Communicate directly with renters using available data such as landlord licensing and Energy Performance Certificates
  • Training for local councillors in renting issues and drop-in sessions with officers

Comments 2

  1. Wow another web site – all the information needed by all parties is freely available on the internet already. This is all political guesturing in my view.

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