We are working to platform the voices of those living in the Private Rental Sector and campaign on the issues that affect them
Many of the people who come to Z2K for housing or benefits support are tenants living in the private rental sector, facing high rents, cramped and poor conditions, unresponsive landlords, unexpected evictions, or any number of other problems faced by renters.
Our Tenants Voice work is part of a wider project funded by Nationwide to bring the voices of private renters into public conversation about the sector, particularly those who aren’t getting heard.
We run a Tenants Voice group identifying the issues that most affect them and what needs to change to make life better for private renters. Some of the recommendations that have come out of this so far are:
- Housing should be affordable to everyone
Rent should not have to take up most of your income. For those on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, these should be sufficient to cover your rent, and leave you enough to live on.
- Housing should be secure
Renters should be able to live without constant fear of eviction. Ending S.21 ‘no-fault’ evictions would protect tenants from being evicted without cause.
- Private tenants need greater control over their lives
If a tenant can’t afford a deposit, they can’t rent, or move house, and wind up stuck in poor conditions. A ‘deposit passporting’ scheme would allow tenants to move their deposit to the next property, giving them the freedom to move.
- All rented properties should meet a basic standard
Mandatory landlord licensing would enable tenants to get council support facing landlords who won’t deal with issues like damp, infestation and disrepair.
- People deserve respect and support when going through homelessness
Councils need proper funding to support people when they find themselves homeless, and make sure to treat people with dignity, respect and compassion.
As part of this work we have also come together with other housing, homeless and tenants rights group to launch the Renters Reform Coalition, calling on the government to extend the eviction ban to protect tenants during the Lockdown, and bring in a package of measures to support those facing Covid-related rent arrears in the longer term.
Many of Z2K’s clients and participants of the Tenants Voice project have contributed directly to our policy work, including our response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee’s inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on homelessness and the private rented sector. You can read our National Policy Submissions here.