Arguments between landlords and tenants often happen due to a misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge concerning a regulation and what is expected of one another. Therefore, in many of our posts we try and explain to landlords everything that is happening in the industry at the time, so that they can improve their knowledge and know exactly where they stand when it comes to their businesses.
However, one local authority has decided to do things a little differently and had teamed up with the local university in order to teach tenants about landlord regulation and how to discuss matters with their landlords. Islington Council decided to run the three day course at London Metropolitan University in order to “build capacity and experience within the borough’s tenants to help them manage their tenancies” and due to its popularity will be running again this June.
Discussing the course, Islington Council’s executive member for tenants, residents and communities, Councillor Barbara Sidnell said: “We are on the side of residents and many are facing challenges due to a barrage of government cuts and welfare benefit changes to come. Sometimes landlords need to be challenged to provide better services or information – that includes local authority landlords. This course allows residents to do that in a constructive and assertive way.”
Even though Islington Council is currently only offering the service to those in social housing, this type of scheme could also benefit private landlords as it means that their tenants would have more knowledge about things that affect them and their tenancy such as deposit protection, landlord insurance and what their landlord’s responsibilities are. The course currently provides lectures that teach tenants about the history of social housing, the aims of their housing service, how money is spent and the council’s statutory duties to their residents.
In order to complete the course each tenant must also spend one day at a housing office where they can learn first-hand all the hard work that the council does in order to provide social housing for those in their constituency. They also learn how the council provides emergency accommodation, handles customer complaints and tackles anti-social behaviour among other things, which will hopefully all improve the communication between residents and the council.
Whilst the next few months may be difficult for all landlords due to the welfare reforms, educating your tenants about the changes could really make matters easier, so why not take the time to talk to them and make sure they fully understand anything that could affect them.