A third sector tenants’ association has been relaunched to help protect the rights of all those who rent their homes in Cardiff whether from social or private sector landlords.
Tenants in Cardiff (TIC) has been launched out of the nearly thirty-year old Cardiff Tenants & Residents Federation whose activities were previously confined to Cardiff Council’s social housing estates.
A break with this practice has led to the establishment of a body whose aims include helping those renting in the private sector with advice, guidance and support in their dealings with letting and estate agents, landlords and the local authority, all completely free of charge.
The relaunch of TIC comes only days after the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced a ban of agency fees in England as part of the Autumn Statement; this ban has led to fears of rent increasing to subside the administration costs. The ban in England is following a Scottish example from 2012 where there were similar concerns regarding rents increasing.
Speaking after the Autumn Statement Campbell Robb, housing charity Shelter’s CEO, said: that the ban on agency fees in Scotland led to a “small but short-lived” increase in rent. This raises the question of if the Welsh Government will follow both England and Scotland in abolishing agency fees.
TIC aims to support those tenants who cannot afford professional advice and services when they need help in their relationships with landlords.
Steve Clarke, Managing Director at Welsh Tenants, said:”Our aim for TIC is that tenants in the private rented sector are protected from landlords who conduct bad practice. Also, TIC will allow us to work with good landlords who take their responsibilities seriously and listen to how we can have a productive, adult conversation to help all parties.
“Similar projects have worked in other areas of the UK; we are determined to replicate this success in Cardiff and facilitate a voice for tenants across the city.”
The relaunch was held at The City Arms Cardiff and saw the start of circulation of 75,000 beer-mats across pubs in Cardiff. The beer-mats have been chosen to spread TIC’s message as they can reach a large number of private tenants.
Jenny Rathbone, Assembly Minister for Cardiff Central said “It’s great to see the launch of this initiative in Cardiff, the area with the biggest private rental market in Wales. Helping responsible tenants and landlords work together to improve the private rental sector is what we need in Cardiff, and is long overdue. This is a really positive step forward.”
The TIC website will sit at the heart of the operations with tenants being able to access advice from professional bodies as well as finding opportunities for engagement in local communities.
John Fellows, Director of TIC, said, “The launch was a great success we were able to celebrate the launch of the TIC website and begin the distribution of our 75,000 beer-mats across Cardiff. The beer-mats will help to communicate our message as well as provide a means of access to information”
The website and the beer-mat project are being funded by the Tenants Deposit Scheme (TDS), a government-backed deposit protection service for tenants, landlords and agents.