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Helping tenants resolve housing issues

The TDS Charitable Foundation has published a report which looks at the barriers that private and social housing tenants face in resolving their housing issues, and provides suggestions for how these barriers could be addressed. It is based on selected findings from two national representative surveys carried out in March 2024 with over 4,000 tenants.

Over the past six months, 61% of private renters, and 60% of social housing tenants experienced problems with the standard or quality of their accommodation. Most tenants reported repairs and maintenance problems to their landlord or letting agent in the first instance, which in turn were usually addressed either fully or in part. However, when the problem was not addressed, half of private renters and 38% of social sector tenants did not know where to go to seek help.

The existing redress landscape for housing issues is complex and confusing; there are several places a person might go to resolve a problem. The Renters (Reform) Bill, which seeks to introduce a new Ombudsman for private landlords, will only add to this array.

The removal of Section 21, which the Bill also proposes pending a review of the court system, is intended to empower tenants to challenge poor practices, but the lack of awareness about redress schemes that are available may still act as barriers to lodging complaints.

“My Housing Issue” Gateway

According to the report, 75% of private renters and 84% of social renters want clearer and more specific information on how to raise a complaint when needed.

In the past, various organisations and housing experts have called for the creation of an easily navigable online portal for people facing housing problems, and the surveys showed that 69% of private renters and 57% of social tenants say they would make use of such a website to help resolve their issues.

The TDS Charitable Foundation is funding the creation of a “My Housing Issue” gateway website to help both private and social housing tenants progress towards a resolution of their disputes. This will act as a diagnostic tool and signposting service. It will help tenants identify the correct route to follow to resolve their problems, and encourage the early resolution of disputes where possible. It supports the aims of the TDS Charitable Foundation in providing relevant information about housing rights and options in an interactive and user-friendly format.


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