Aims of the training Pilot information session To discuss challenges and solutions to supporting clients to access the private rented sector To ensure delegates are confident in discussing the private rented sector with clients To provide delegates with tools and contacts to help make the private rented sector a more viable option for clients
Introductions What are your roles? Do you currently support clients to access the private rented sector? What would you like to get out of today?
Crisis and the private rented sector Working since 1997 to make the private rented sector a viable housing option for clients Providing support and funding to other organisations Directly delivering services ourselves Best practice toolkit and other materials Training and events Renting ready pre tenancy training course
Quiz In groups of 2 take 10 minutes to complete the myth- busting quiz This is a quiz that you can go through with clients to gauge their knowledge about the private rented sector and debunk some myths about the sector We will then go through the answers together
Case study The Whitechapel Centre, Merseyside Colleagues from The Whitechapel Centre will talk through their private rented sector access scheme and how your clients may be able to access their service. They will also talk through a case study of one of their clients.
Renting ready Crisis Skylight Merseyside Overview of the Renting Ready pre-tenancy training course, which covers the following topics: Housing options, Getting ready to move, Money matters, Making your money go further, Making a house a home and Finding & living with flatmates
Tea and coffee Take 10-15 minutes to grab a coffee and comfort break In this time we’d also like you to think of your main challenge in helping a client access the private rented sector Write this down on a post it note and stick on the wall
Challenges and solutions How to identify clients ready for independent living? How to discuss the housing options available with your clients Managing expectations
Identifying clients ready for private renting Are they engaged? Are they meeting the requirements of their hostel residency? Are they demonstrating initiative? Are they demonstrating some of the key skills to managing a tenancy? Have they addressed the issues which ended their previous tenancy (if applicable)?
Discussing housing options Consistent messaging Giving ample time to all their options Having up to date information – schemes that can help them, social housing bandings and waiting times, Local Housing Allowance/Housing Benefit rates
Managing expectations Consistent messaging Discussing all realistic options as early as possible Know your patch and have up to date information Keep links with other organisations and the local authority who may be able to help Have outside workers/speakers come in to talk to clients about options – can help reinforce messaging Get clients with successful move on stories to talk to residents
The PRS and Social Housing PRS Stay in the property as long as you and the landlord want Can’t just be kicked out – landlord should give two month’s notice Can choose to live anywhere that there are affordable properties Properties normally furnished Pets sometimes allowed, depending on property Assured shorthold tenancy agreements or license agreements Rent levels often higher and can be paid by LHA Social Housing Could be a minimum of two years, sometimes still tenancies for life Can still be evicted for rent arrears or anti-social behaviour Restricted to where the local authority has social housing so often long waiting times Properties normally unfurnished Pets normally not allowed Assured tenancy agreements Rent levels generally 20% - 33% cheaper than PRS – rents can be paid by Housing Benefit
Case study 1 - Scenario Hannah lives in a one-bedroom flat in North London. She has lived there for 4 years. She had some rent arrears two years ago but has paid that off and has never been late with her rent since then. Her rent is paid by Housing Benefit every four weeks. She had a written assured shorthold tenancy agreement for the first 12 months she lived there. Her landlord calls her to say he is selling the property and she needs to leave in 10 days. What should she do?
Case study 1 - Answer Hannah is still protected in her tenancy as her written assured shorthold tenancy agreement became a periodic tenancy after the first 12 month period. The landlord is required by law to give her at least two months written notice. (Section 21 notice) Hannah should contact the landlord and explain that by law he has to give her two months notice. If he continues to insist that she leaves in 10 days, she should approach the local authority or Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance and tell the landlord she is doing so. She does not have to leave the property after 10 days.
Case study 2 - Scenario Jamie lives in shared accommodation in West London. He lives with three other people in a house. They each have their own room and they share a bathroom and a kitchen. Each housemate has their own assured shorthold tenancy agreement with the landlord. Jamie moved into the property on 1 March 2011 and signed a six month tenancy agreement stating that he had to pay £90 per week rent. All the other tenants had been living in the property for many years and all had periodic tenancy agreements. The landlord writes to all the tenants on 1 June 2011 (three months after Jamie moves in) and says that from 1 July 2011 their rent will increase to £110 per week each. What should Jamie do?
Case study 2 – Answer All the other tenants in the house are on periodic tenancies so the landlord is within his rights to give them one month’s notice of an increase in rent. Jamie is still within his protected six month tenancy agreement. This means that the landlord is not allowed to increase his rent until the end of that six month period. Jamie should let the landlord know that he cannot increase the rent for Jamie. If the landlord continues to insist that the rent should be increased, Jamie should approach the local authority or Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance and tell the landlord he is doing so.
Myths and Truths about PRS Landlords can evict tenants without notice NO – Landlords have to give tenants at least two months written notice at any time during the tenancy. Landlords can increase the rent at any time NO – Landlords cannot increase the rent during a fixed term tenancy and have to give appropriate notice to increase the rent at other times. Landlords can come into the property whenever they like NO – Landlords have to agree to give the tenant possession of the premises at the start of the tenancy and respect the property as the tenant’s home during the life of the tenancy. Landlords are entitled to enter the property to carry out repairs and to make inspections but they must give reasonable notice (24-48 hrs)
Myths and Truths about PRS No landlord will rent to tenants on Housing Benefit NO – It is more difficult to find landlords and letting agents that will rent to tenants on Housing Benefit, but there are many who will let to you, especially if you are working with a support agency. PRS properties are of a low standard NO – Properties in the private rented sector can be of a very good quality. Standards vary and you should only move into a property of a decent standard. There are laws that ensure landlords have to keep parts of the property in good working order. If the property is in a very poor condition, local authorities have powers to force the landlord to improve the condition of the property.
Challenges and solutions We have given you a challenge or challenges that have been placed by you and your colleagues on the wall today In your group please take 15 minutes to come up with three possible solutions to the challenge we have given you Feedback your solutions to the wider group
Useful tools Key messages for advisers Key messages for about the private rented sector Top tips for new renters http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/top-tips-for- new-renters.htmlhttp://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/top-tips-for- new-renters.html True/false quiz for clients Private rented sector online toolkit http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/prs-toolkit.html http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/prs-toolkit.html Sharer’s toolkit http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/sharers-toolkit-.htmlhttp://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/sharers-toolkit-.html Crisis housing pages http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/crisis-private- renting.htmlhttp://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/crisis-private- renting.html Renting Ready
Have we covered everything you wanted? Any final questions? Final thoughts?
Contact Contact the Crisis Housing Team at firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7426 5685 www.crisis.org.uk/pages/housing.html @PrivateRenting