A new charity with a mission to improve standards in private rented housing management has launched its website today and is inviting applications for funding.
The TDS Charitable Foundation will provide education and training resources to tenants, landlords and agents and give grants to projects working towards the same goal.
Applications for funding are now being invited for projects to promote knowledge of landlords’ obligations, and projects to raise awareness amongst tenants of their rights and responsibilities. In its first series of funding the Foundation will give particular focus to tenants who are renting privately for the first time, and to the growing number of ‘accidental landlords’ who are letting property owing to circumstance but with little or no awareness of what their obligations are.
Leading industry and tenant organisations are represented on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees including RICS, NUS, the National Association of Estate Agents and the The Dispute Service..
The private rented sector has grown substantially in recent years and overtook social housing in 2013 to reach 4 million households in England. However the lettings industry remains largely unregulated and continues to hold the highest proportion of homes which fail to meet the government’s Decent Homes Standard. Trustee Peter Bolton-King, Global Residential Director at RICS, is widely quoted describing the sector as being at risk of becoming “the property industry’s wild west”.
Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of The Dispute Service and a Trustee of the Foundation said;
“The TDS Charitable Foundation is providing a valuable new source of funding for organisations which are committed to better standards in private renting.
“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. I look forward to receiving new and exciting proposals for making tenants aware of what they need to expect from their landlords and agents, and for ways to encourage landlords into training.”
Trustee Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director at RICS, said;
“RICS are pleased to be associated with the TDS Charitable Foundation. The private rented sector will continue to play an ever more important part in meeting housing needs. Our independent research does however show that consumer knowledge, of basic rights and responsibilities in this sector is lacking and the foundation will help to address this.”
Trustee Colum McGuire, Vice President (Welfare) at the National Union of Students said;
“Students make up a sizeable proportion of the private rented sector, and for many of them it will be their first time. This can leave them vulnerable due to not being aware of their rights so it’s absolutely vital that we do all we can to empower them as tenants.
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.”
Organisations wishing to apply for funding can complete an application form on the Foundation’s website, tdsfoundation.org.uk. The application deadline for the first round of funding is June 9th 2014.
 (English Housing Survey, 2012-13).
Communications Officer, The Dispute Service
01442 780 560