Brent Council’s PRS Community Champions Programme
A third of households in Brent rent from a private landlord. Like the rest of London, most own just one or two properties, and may not be fully aware of their responsibilities. Whilst the majority of landlords rent out decent homes, a few let properties in a poor state of repair. The danger increases if they are let to too many people.
The council is determined to improve conditions for all private tenants, by supporting landlords to improve properties and reduce overcrowding, and taking action against those who refuse to cooperate. Increasing tenant and wider community awareness of rights and available support is also crucial, so that they can act if issues arise.
The council’s private housing services team is developing a network of private rented sector (PRS) community champions. It is drawing on the abundant community- and voluntary-sector groups and organisations in the borough – there are over 800 on the council’s public database, and likely to be more.
Brent’s substantial community sector is an asset that needs support – many groups within it operate on a shoestring, relying on the energy and good will of their leaders and volunteers. By offering community champions a package of training and resources, we are designing the initiative to build capacity. The training event will take place on 27th June.
We do not expect to form a proactive, self-reliant community champions network after just one event. We are therefore holding another meeting in early 2019, while seeking interim opportunities for learning and sharing experiences in collaboration with voluntary-sector partners such as Advice for Renters, Crisis Skylight Brent and Ashford Place, as well as other council departments.
We encourage community leaders and activists to join us on 27th June to learn how they can engage private tenants, landlords and communities. Improving housing conditions in Brent is a collaborative process, and everyone can play a part.
Jo Wilson, Brent PRS community champions programme lead
I’ve been championing private tenants’ rights for over 30 years. I really should have retired by now but I can’t bear to walk away from the current situation when private renters have never had it so bad.