Make Renting Right

Is it fair that thousands of Welsh children have to live in poor conditions including electrical hazards, damp, mould and cold?

In Wales, nearly one in ten private tenants with dependent children said that their children’s health has been affected in the last year due to their landlord not dealing with repairs and poor conditions.

This means that up to 10,000 children a year may be suffering worse health because of poor conditions in privately rented housing[1].

Every day at Shelter Cymru we meet private renters who are living in appalling conditions. And the harsh reality is that they have few rights to get their situation improved.

Tenants know that their landlord can make them homeless for no reason whatsoever. They know that if they try to take their landlord on, it is a battle they will ultimately lose.

So tenants do the only thing they can do to protect their families, which is to move… and move… and move. Nearly one in five private renters with children have moved three or more times in the last five years.

And the landlord never has to face up to their responsibilities, because Wales is in a housing crisis and there will always be another set of tenants to move in.

We can do better than this

At Shelter Cymru we believe that private renters should have the security of knowing they can’t be evicted on the whim of the landlord. If they are obeying the terms of their tenancy agreement, is it fair that the landlord still has the right to make them homeless at any time?

We know the Welsh Government wants to improve the private rented sector. New laws have been introduced to improve conditions but this can only be achieved if there are stronger rights for tenants.

Local authorities don’t have the resources to carry out enough enforcement. In the last eight years, Welsh authorities have only prosecuted an average of one landlord per authority, per year.

Budgets have been slashed so severely that the Wales Audit Office has warned that environmental health teams are in danger of being unable to carry out their basic functions.

Improving poor housing conditions in these austerity-driven times isn’t easy but it’s vital if we are going to improve people’s health and well-being.

Empowering tenants to stand up for their own rights, and to work with their landlord to improve the state of their housing, is the only sensible thing to do.

What you can do