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Tenants’ union needed to improve ‘mediocre’ renting conditions

A major think-tank wants to see the government help hand back power to tenants, enabling them to improve conditions in the private rented sector.

IPPR is calling for the creation of a new national tenants’ association – a fully independent working group of third-sector, public and private organisations, supported and funded by the government. 

Historically, the actions of residents and tenants working together are directly responsible for a host of government legislation to alleviate poor housing. But in the years since Margaret Thatcher came to power, many of these organisations have vanished.

The IPPR believes that the only way to get housing justice for private renters, including a higher level of service, is through mass membership organisations, including trade unions, actively exploring ways of taking a more active role in supporting their private tenant members with things like legal advice and dispute resolution support services.

The think-tank also wants to see additional benefits made available to help make trade union membership more attractive for those privately renting, such as insurance companies offering extensions to tenant insurance products to cover legal fees in cases of tenant-landlord disputes, as standard.

Charlotte Snelling, IPPR researcher on housing, said: “Private tenants in England often pay high rents and receive mediocre service in return.                                                                                   

“Private tenants need to be given much greater voice and power. This could be done by following the example of Germany’s powerful tenants’ associations.

“This will help make sure their voice is heard in a debate that is often dominated by the goal of home ownership as well as provide them with more practical help to drive up the quality of rented homes.

“Doing this as well as better regulation of renting and building many more homes will be key to solving the housing crisis.”

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