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When everyone has a home

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Private tenants share their concerns with MLAs

A little piece of history was made last week when, for the first time, MLAs heard directly from private tenants about their experiences of living in the private rented sector. The meeting followed on from the Committee for Social Development’s attendance at Housing Rights Service where they conducted their normal weekly business meeting.

“A place we can call home”

The event provided an excellent opportunity for the Private Tenants’ Forum to inform the MLAs of a number of concerns with renting privately. The forum also had an opportunity to put forward ideas on how to improve the private rented sector. Jan Branch, a member of the Forum, commented that

“…as a group of private renters we believe our housing rights need to be properly protected just like owner occupiers and social tenants.  We believe our homes should be safe and professionally managed with existing rights fully enforced. We need a place we can call home – something that most people take for granted.”

Learning from experience: Top Tips from the Private Tenants Forum

The MLAs also watched a short film, produced by the Forum, the ‘Key to Private Renting’ .  This film contains the Forum’s top tips for new tenants and has been viewed over 8,000 times since it launched in July.

The Forum will be launching its Agenda for Action at the upcoming ‘Bigger and Better’ conference on the future of the private rented sector on the 6th November

Time to consider improvements to private rented sector

The meeting was a very positive experience for all concerned.  The MLAs present accepted that there are problems in the private rented sector that should be addressed and thanked the Forum for bringing these issues to the fore.  Committee members said they, and their constituency staff, deal with problems in the private rented sector on a day to day basis and understand that improvements for both landlords and tenants need to be considered.

The Committee suggested that the Forum should be regarded as a key stakeholder when it comes to discussions on the development of the private rented sector and that the emerging DSD review of the private rented sector should take account of the Forum and its views.

Tracey McKeating, Chairperson of the Forum was satisfied by the meeting with MLAs, saying:

“We hope our MLAs will listen to our experiences of living in rented accommodation and consider ways of improving standards in this expanding sector. We are keen to work with landlords, government and other renters to improve the lot for everyone involved in the rental sector.”

Tagged In

Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies, NI Assembly