Wednesday, 22 October 2014

National body to support private tenants

A national organisation has been set up to support tenants in the private rented sector.

The National Private Tenants Organisation has been formed by regional private tenant bodies in Blackpool, Brent, Camden and Scarborough.

The organisation is open to private tenant groups and individual residents who cannot join a local group and is calling for more proactive inspections and the prosecution of repeat offenders to ensure the sector gets the same quality homes as social tenants.

Kevin Allen, chair, said: ‘This is a critical time for private tenants to have a national voice. With homeownership out of reach for many people and the lack of social housing, private renting is becoming the only option for many.

‘We have real concerns about rogue landlords and sub-standard homes. According to Shelter local councils know more than 1,475 landlords who repeatedly give them cause for concern and complaints against landlords have risen by 22 per cent in the last two years.

‘Changes to housing benefit, legal aid and changes to social housing tenancies are set to make this situation worse.’

Readers' comments (27)

  • Rick Campbell

    The devil, as always, will be in the detail.

    Why not a similar effective organisation for social housing renters?

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  • Alex Brown

    Bad landlords will no doubt evict any tenants who join and complain, Retaliatory Eviction is common in the private sector as evidenced by Liverpool CAB a couple of years ago.
    Glad you said similar effective for social tenants, there are a couple of good organisations for niche areas but nothing effective for mainstream tenants which is why government is so keen to work with those purporting to speak on our behalf.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Fledgling tenant organisations are always difficult to set up at first -- there's different peoples' agendas to be encompassed in a one-size fits all scenario.

    Where there are, say 15 different organisations, all working differently (albeit heading in the same general direction), there will be clashes of personality and styles.

    I wish the fledgling organisation well and hope it does not go in the same direction as /way of the TSA .

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  • F451

    Could the day of the tenant union be returning?

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  • Steve Clarke

    Most private sector tenants will already have representation through their Tenant and Resident Assocations, as here in Wales. To develop a new priavte rented sector movement is counter productive, as tenancy rights are already a key feature of the exsting movement (AST, standards, redress etc). This is I feel counter productive. Use whats already there (Federations and TAROE) to strengthen and unify the tenants voice.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Unifying the 'collective' tenants' voices is not all that easy -- as pointed out in my "... say 15 different organisations ..." where 12 months on nothing has been sorted out yet, there's people saying decisions are being taken undemocratically, that people want to be the ones at the vanguard for self serving purposes, that the ;little man' is being pushed out, and we've only just 'ahreed' 2 per organisation to meet next month to decide on how to set the organisation up -- 15 organisations coming together is difficult enough never mind a national one.

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  • Steve Clarke

    In resposne to F451 - The tenant union has never left - it has been simply daydreaming, content to participate, so long as that achieves something.
    However, recent changes under the welfare reforms and a reduction in security of tenure will undoubtedly awaken a huge and powerful tide of emotion in a category of people that has been responsible for development of unionism, the labour movement, co-operatives, credit unions and more...

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  • Steve Clarke

    Dear Rick, these are issues common to any movement no doubt. Strong leadership is the key with clear lines of accountbaility, accessibility, transparency. I agree its tough! but the moral imperative to have one nationaly voice reflecting local aspirations is key to maintaining unity of purpose and a consoldiated voice. Meeting people regularly and developing a means to interact via social media is key.. it will happen.. Have courage!

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  • I dream of the day we tenants will be able to organize a national rent strike.

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  • Rick Campbell

    It is happening but very slowly Steve.

    30 years 'in the business' has taught me lots of things not in the least being that many passionate tenants tend to fall at early fences by burning themselves out, whilst others get a tad sulky when they can't get their own way.

    I've seen them all come and I've seen them go -- I'm still around and can state from personal experoience that teamwork is essential as is concensus/collective responsibility.

    Once 'personal agenda' overtakes 'group objectives' the so called 'know-alls' find that a little knowledge is a dangerous things and older/wiser (?) tenants tend to stay the distance and achieve what others cannot -- and not always in a shy way.

    The sooner personal differences and clashes of personality are got shot of the better -- a bit of early bloodletting is not always a bad thing.

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