A new charity has launched, with a mission to improve standards in the private rented sector. The TDS Charitable Foundation is also making grants available, to support projects that will promote knowledge of landlords’ obligations, and raise awareness of tenants’ rights.
The charity is backed by The Disputes Service, while the foundation’s board of trustees includes representatives from the RICS, National Union of Students, and National Association of Estate Agents.
“The TDS Charitable Foundation is providing a valuable new source of funding for organisations which are committed to better standards in private renting,” said Steve Harriott, chief executive of The Dispute Service. “At present, anyone can enter the lettings industry without training or experience, exposing people to many risks; from bad service to substandard living conditions, to financial loss or worse.”
And Colum McGuire, vice president (welfare) at the NUS, added: We’re very glad to be a part of this initiative and believe that the foundation will go a long way to increasing tenants’ empowerment and protection.”
Just some of the problems tenants face are laid bare in a new article by Zoe Williams in the Guardian newspaper, who notes how difficult it can be for tenants to get deposits back. “I think some letting agents see it as a matter of honour not to return the full amount,” she writes. “They are like playground bullies who would rinse you for a piece of string rather than leave you unmolested.”
Williams says the market is skewed in favour of landlords. While the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme has been successful, other regulation is dismissed as being unnecessary and too many rental homes are poorly maintained.
More on the TDS grants at their website here.
And the Guardian article by Zoe Williams is here.