'We are acutely aware that some tenants have been subject to discrimination'
Today's new report on mental health and the private rented sector from Tyfu Tai Cymru is an invaluable insight into the issues faced by tenants and landlords alike, says Tai Pawb policy and public affairs manager Ross Thomas.
Tai Pawb is delighted to welcome today’s report on private renting and mental health.
Given the distinct lack of quantitative data and general research into the topic, its findings are an invaluable insight into the issues faced by tenants and landlords alike in accessing mental health support. It’s also a starting point in helping to bridge the gap between evidence and everyday practice.
The importance of such data is two-fold in this case: statistics from mental health charity, Mind, suggest that one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year . Meanwhile, the private rented sector is becoming an increasingly significant player in housing options for vulnerable people as, for example, local authorities look to discharge their homelessness duties through the sector. That combination is key to ensuring the report’s recommendations are recognised by Welsh Government.
We are acutely aware that some tenants – both prospective and current – have been subject to discrimination in accessing housing and in maintaining their tenancy, including issues around mental health. Part of our ongoing response to this has been through delivering Open Doors, a unique partnership project between Tai Pawb and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). Funded by The Big Lottery, we’ve helped raise tenants’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities while upskilling and supporting landlords on the requirements of equality legislation in order that they feel more confident and able to let to a diverse range of tenants, including those who are vulnerable.
Nonetheless, we know that the vast majority of private landlords want to provide as good a service for their tenants as possible, but are in need of additional support. This is borne out clearly in the report’s findings; almost half of the landlords who responded said there was ‘never enough information and support’. To that end, we fully support the report’s primary recommendation that the Welsh Government provides comprehensive information for private landlords and letting agents to highlight local and national mental health support services.
We are committed to working with Welsh Government and our partners to address the report recommendations and continuing to ensure that we are well-placed to provide practical and solution-based approaches to the issues faced by the sector and private tenants.