A creative solution to the rogue landlord crisis
Currently, the main media outlets have been highlighting the various issues surrounding rogue landlords from the private rented sector. Although most landlords are honest law-abiding citizens, some are not.
Tenants have been suffering at the hands of unscrupulous landlords who demand monthly payments, but do not fulfil their obligations and responsibilities – like ensuring that homes are habitable. All one has to do is to open a national newspaper and it will most likely contain a story about tenants living in homes infested with pests or in damp, mouldy and squalid conditions month after month.
Central government has stepped in and introduced various measures in order to tackle this scourge. One such measure was the introduction of the licensing of landlords under the Housing Act 2004. This gave councils the power to deny a landlord a licence if they were considered to be unfit or improper. However, the implementation of legislation does have imperfections; in some cases, the system of policing landlords is broken. It is not working entirely the way it was intended to. Various stakeholders do agree that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the legislation governing the private rented sector.
Meanwhile, tenants continue to suffer. Those affected include people who are isolated from their communities for whatever reason, many of whom do not know their rights when it comes to housing. One of the reasons for this is that there is a language barrier. Some tenants are not proficient in speaking the English language, so their communication with the landlord will be distorted. This leaves them vulnerable to the whims of rogue landlords.
FaithAction has teamed up with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and the Citizens Advice to pioneer a solution that will help equip vulnerable tenants with tools to be able to confidently deal with this housing issue. Tenants with little to no English language skills identified through the Borough’s private rented sector licensing scheme, will be referred to family-focused Creative English sessions to help build confidence in discussions around topics such as housing rights; which will help tenants gain confidence and allow them to communicate with their landlords. Research has shown that Creative English has helped people engage with their communities and introduce them into wider community life. Learners have the opportunity to mix with a variety of people outside the comfort zone of their own homes and to speak to people with similar circumstances to them.
We at FaithAction are keen to see the results of these special Creative English workshops. For more information on this please see the promotional flyer: