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1 Monday, 20 April 2015 Until there’s a home for everyone The private rented sector- How dowe work better together to drive up standards?

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Presentation on theme: "1 Monday, 20 April 2015 Until there’s a home for everyone The private rented sector- How dowe work better together to drive up standards?"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Monday, 20 April 2015 Until there’s a home for everyone The private rented sector- How dowe work better together to drive up standards?

2 2 Outline  Why is Shelter concerned?  About the Campaign  Tough enforcement action  Longer tenancies  Working with national government  Working with local government  How can we work better together to drive up standards?  Lessons from local government  What is next?  What can we learn from you?

3 3 Why is Shelter concerned? Shelter client tenure, England, April 2011 – March 2012

4 4 Why is Shelter concerned?  1 in 5 families now rent— this proportion has doubled in 6 years (1 in 10 rented 6 years ago).  Fewer than 1 in 10 families are renting because they like the freedom and flexibility it gives them  In the last year 28% of families have not had repairs carried out or poor conditions dealt with by their landlord or letting agent.  One million renters say their health has been affected by their landlord failing to make repairs or dealing with poor conditions.

5 5 Why is Shelter concerned?

6 6 Insert 9 million renters video

7 7 About the campaign As demand for rented homes increases, rogue landlords flourish, taking advantage of people with limited choices. Whilst most landlords are responsible and honest, a minority of rogue landlords are getting away with renting out homes that are in an appalling state of repair, and deliberately exploiting their tenants. Living in rundown or unsafe housing can have a devastating impact on people’s health, children especially. Supporter Action  4,489 supporters emailed their council.  Total Facebook reach of 1million.  Total twitter reach of 6.8 million.

8 8 Tough enforcement action By taking tough enforcement action local authorities can send a strong message to all landlords that poor conditions and practices won’t be tolerated. In a time of tight resources it is important to emphasise that tough, well-publicised enforcement can save money in the long run. By ensuring that successful prosecutions of rogue landlords are publicised locally, all landlords will be encouraged to ensure that their properties meet legal requirements, reducing the need for enforcement in future. This action also clearly differentiates rogue landlords from the vast majority of good landlords - and forces them out of the sector.  over 85,000 complaints  total number of complaints made to local authorities has increased by 27% in the last three years  successful prosecutions made against private landlords has gone up by 77%

9 9 Longer tenancies Moving disrupts children’s education:1 in 10 renting families (10%) have had to change their children’s school due to moving, with moves causing stress and upset for some children. Moving is expensive and pushes families into debt: 34% of families who have moved in the past five years said the move strained their finances. Parents want stability for their children: 44% of parents feel their children would have a better childhood if they had more stability in their home

10 10 Longer tenancies A mutually beneficial rental product, the Stable Rental Contract, would:  Give renters five years in their home, during which landlords could not end their tenancy without a good reason.  Only allow landlords to increase rents annually in line with inflation during the five years.  Allow renters to give two months’ notice to end the tenancy.  Give landlords the right to end the tenancy if they sell the property. Shelter is calling on Lenders to:  Drop restrictions on landlords letting to people on benefits  Drop restrictions on letting on longer tenancies  Help empower landlords to develop smarter strategies for meeting their customers’ needs

11 11 How might longer tenancies affect Landlords’ returns?

12 12 Working with national government The Department for Communities and Local Government have:  Set up a dedicated rogue landlord taskforce  Make a total of £5.6m available to councils to deal with rogue landlords  Removed limits to the fines imposed on rogue landlords.  Launched guidance on tackling rogue landlords to all local councils, much of it based on our own recommendations.

13 13 Working with national government But there is more that can be done. Shelter would like to see:  Greater legal protection for tenants against retaliatory eviction, so that tenants feel empowered to highlight poor practice without risk of losing their home.  Greater emphasis on removing the judicial barriers that often deter councils and tenants from taking legal action.

14 14 Working with local government As part of the Evict Rogue Landlords campaign: Shelter has been calling on local authorities to take tough, visible enforcement action against rogue landlords. We have also been encouraging local councillors and senior managers to work positively with their local private rented sector. Some of the most successful authorities have been those who work positively with their law-abiding landlords, building up relationships that discourage offending.  120 Councils have joined the campaign.  Guide to emerging good practice.  Rogue landlords conference.

15 15 How dowe work better together to drive up standards? Shelter is a Tenants’ Organisation. We fully recognise the importance of the PRS- and the vital role many landlords play. Over the past couple of years we have also worked closely with Councils. And we have seen some excellent examples of good practice: councils and landlords working together. Our recommendations are based on this experience.

16 16 How can local authorities work with landlords? 1. Provide information and advice for landlords 2. Meaningful engagement with landlords 3. Join up enforcement and advice 4. Create a space for discussion and consultation 5. Balanced relationships

17 17 Provide information and advice for landlords Sheffield City Council has developed a range of information and advice leaflets that provide information to all private landlords and tenants and encourages them to seek further help where necessary. They have also developed an upgraded landlord training scheme, which is used in appropriate circumstances as an alternative to prosecution, alongside a general training course. Leeds City Council annually produce a distribute, free of charge, a good practice guide for landlords and agents. It contains advice on their responsibilities and examples of good practice. The council also operates an extensive website, which includes a range of information: links to partner agencies, downloads, and contact information.

18 18 Meaningful engagement with landlords South Staffordshire District Council’s Housing Options team employ a dedicated officer to work closely with private landlords. They recognise that they have a vital role to play in providing good-quality, local accommodation. Leeds City Council have a good relationship with the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and the National Landlord Associations (NLA). Both organisations are regular attendees at strategy group meetings and help formulate policy and procedures.

19 19 Joined-up Enforcement and Advice The issues experienced by private tenants are often very similar to those who live in socially rented accommodation, but their access to support and advice is more restricted. As a result, when Amber Valley Borough Council receive a complaint they will usually seek to provide housing advice first, as there is only so much the tenant can do without proper information and representation. They will still issue notices, or threaten notices to landlords, but their immediate concern is with the tenant. Positive impact of Tenancy Relations Officers and Mediation services.

20 20 Create a space for discussion and consultation Pendle Borough Council council holds a landlord forum two to three times a year. Occasionally after a successful prosecution the landlord in question has come back to the council for help. They have accepted their crimes and asked the council to work with them on improving their conduct and their properties. Burnley Borough Council runs a Private Rented Sector Forum. The forum meets every two months and is made up of landlords, letting agents, tenants, and the local authority. Issues are debated and the council is able to consult with the forum on key developments within the sector. With the support of this forum, the council periodically run landlord evenings where a wide range of issues impacting on the sector are discussed and debated.

21 21 Balanced Relationships In an effort to work positively with landlords, and give them sufficient opportunity to fix problems, Burnley Borough Council will try to ensure that, following a complaint, the council contacts each landlord directly. If repairs are not completed within a reasonable timeframe Burnley will follow up with a formal inspection and a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) assessment. But they are keen to ensure that their service is balanced: working with both the landlord and the tenant to improve standards. Councils that are  Tough on the rogues.  But collaborate with good Landlords.  And work with tenants The London Borough of Lewisham employs a team of specialist private sector advisers to advise private tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities and ensure compliance with the law. These advisers act as mediators; will attend incidents; and directly intervene where necessary

22 22 What is next? Champion higher fines to root out rogues. Remove barriers to longer tenancies. Publicise good work carried out by landlords. Work together wherever possible…  South West Campaign  Letting Agents’ Fees  Safe and Decent Homes- PRS Conditions

23 23 What can we learn from you?

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