Tenant activist group Generation Rent says it’s working with five councils to find out more about private renters in those areas.
The local authorities are Dundee City Council, East Suffolk Council, Gedling Borough Council, the London borough of Newham, and Newport City Council.
Generation Rent says the aim of the projects is to help each local authority “better understand the challenges private renters face, and respond effectively.”
In at least one of the projects, respondents have the opportunity to win Tesco vouchers.
A statement from Generation Rent says: “Local government has responsibilities for enforcing safety standards, licensing landlords and protecting tenants from illegal eviction.
Polling by Survation found that 46 per cent of private renters were unaware that their local council had powers to help private tenants.”
Baroness Alicia Kennedy, who is the director of Generation Rent, adds: “The private renter population has grown dramatically in the past two decades, making it a much more important part of local authorities’ work. That’s why we’re delighted to be working in partnership with these five local authorities across the country. They have recognised the important role councils play in supporting private renters, and now want to improve the way they represent and engage private renters. We hope this joint work will develop new models of engagement that can be shared and built upon by other local authorities.”
A statement from the organisation goes on to say that many councils around the country have landlord forums, whereas very few have formal structures to hear from private renters.
Through the projects, which are funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, Generation Rent claims it will “find out more about what private renters already know about their rights and responsibilities - and how this differs between different nations, rural and urban areas and different communities living in private rented homes.”
The work will develop what the activists call “best practice for engagement with private renters” so that the local authority can better consult with private renters, be more responsive to issues and concerns, and develop policies and practices to better support private renters, for example through enforcement or landlord licensing.
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