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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

Tracey's Story

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Belfast. I am 36 years old and I’m a volunteer for a local Homeless Centre.  I am in the forum to help make the private rented sector a more attractive place for people to live in and also to help tenants to get to know their rights and help bring about change.

Why did you decide to join the forum?
I moved home 4 years ago and stayed in an overcrowded house. I went to an estate agent and was shocked that they asked me for a £100 registration fee and that was before I had even got the deposit and 4 weeks rent. All in all I needed £1800 and I was skint! I ended up moving into a wreck. When it rained; it rained indoors! The landlord did nothing for me. So I decided to join the forum and specially love the training sessions we get, getting to meet new people and having a laugh with them

What do you think are the benefits of the forum?
The benefit of the forum is having a collective voice. You get to lobby government and its fun and exciting.  Meeting the NI Assembly’s Social Development Committee was my most exciting part so far. And of course the free training which I couldn’t possibly say no to!

What do you think is the main thing Government should do to improve conditions for tenants in rented accommodation?
Government should pay more attention to the private rented sector and implement change.

Finally, do you have a particular piece of advice for other tenants?
Get to know your rights and if you think your landlord is not treating you fairly don’t just say nothing. He might be breaking the law. A verbal tenancy contract is nothing - make sure you have a rent book and written contract.  READ THE SMALL PRINT.