Tenants should be a central part of any changes to the private rented sector (PRS), yet their voices are often absent and excluded from meaningful debate. The Nationwide Foundation is awarding £804,841 of funding to support PRS tenants by giving them a stronger voice in the debates on their personal housing issues or in housing matters in their local area.
Organisations will use the funding to provide renters with:
- greater access to information and advice on the private rented sector
- enhanced understanding of their rights
- safe places to come together
- support to speak up
- opportunities to work together.
The Nationwide Foundation’s tenants’ voice programme supports projects that specifically help tenants whose personal circumstances – such as low-income, disadvantaged and vulnerable households – mean that they cannot avoid the potential problems of living in the private rented sector. Problems include insecurity, poor living conditions, high costs and severe lack of choice, which therefore puts them at increased risk of harm. The seven funded organisations including tenants unions are:
- Camden Federation of Private Tenants, working with local authorities in London, connecting key officers and politicians with renters, so that issues are better understood, tenants’ voices are clearly heard, and local authority practice is improved. (£100,371 for two years)
- Citizens Advice, establishing a panel of private rented sector tenants across England to speak out on behalf of tenants, giving them a voice in policy decisions. (£131,336 for 18 months)
- Housing Rights, strengthening the voice of private renters in Northern Ireland by building capacity among renters and contributing to a culture among stakeholders which values tenant participation. (£177,623 for three years)
- Living Rent, testing the model of tenant union neighbourhood branches to support renters on low-incomes or from migrant backgrounds in Glasgow. (£177,623 for three years)
- Shelter, using a community organising model to bring together and empower renters across the West of England Combined Authority. (Grant of £100,000 for three years)
- Tenants Union, elevating the voices of Greater Manchester’s tenants through the creation of a tenant-led housing manifesto. (Grant of £150,000 for three years)
- Z2K, helping renters who were homeless or vulnerably housed to use their voices and have their stories heard, while campaigning on issues identified by these tenants. (Grant of £150,000 for three years.)
The Nationwide Foundation’s programme manager, Bridget Young, said, “There’s real appetite to grow an energetic, purposeful tenants’ voice movement, and we hope this funding will lead to tenants becoming a normal and expected part of the advisory process. Giving tenants the freedom and space to have stronger voices in debates on the private rented sector and housing, will mean positive changes in policy and practice, including better rights for tenants.”
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This funding has been given as part of the Nationwide Foundation’s Transforming the Private Rented Sector programme.