Chair and Secretary’s Report

Annual General Meeting, 9 June 2022

In the last year, we have at least seen something like a return to normal, albeit something of a new normal.  Speaking for my own service that has meant an even busier normal than before the pandemic, with the number of ‘told to leave cases’ we have intervened in since October last year up by 50% on pre-pandemic levels.

It also seems that more major change is on its way in the private rented sector, with the abolition of section 21 providing private tenants with a degree of security of tenure that it will be all the more important to protect, but which unscrupulous landlords will have all the more incentive to try to circumvent, both legally and illegally.  Our work will become all the more important but also, all the more challenging.

The inclusion in the latest Queen’s speech of a new landlord Ombudsman, and the application of the Decent Homes Standards to private rented homes also promise further major changes to the private rented sector.

But we are hopeful that there will be further new measures for private tenants to help protect these enhanced rights.  ATRO has already contributed to the project looking at strengthening and improving the Protection from Eviction Act, and has made representations directly to the government.

Also this year, we have worked with Generation Rent to try and bring about changes to the Policing Bill aimed at increasing co-operation between local authorities and the police over harassment and illegal eviction cases; and supported work planned by the Centre for Housing Policy on criminal landlords.

We will continue to make the case for more protection for tenants against harassment and illegal eviction at every opportunity, and in particular, for enhanced powers and duties for local authorities, to ensure that prevention and enforcement is carried out consistently and effectively across the country.

Once again, our thanks to Kane Davis in Bristol for an excellent newsletter in October and he leaves the field of tenancy relations with our very best wishes.

As ever, there is probably much more that we could be doing, and we would be very grateful for volunteers to join the Committee to ensure the voices of those on the tenancy relations frontline are heard. We have an important role to play in influencing policy and legislation in the direction of achieving more justice and accountability in private renting. Most importantly, we need to keep promoting the case, for tenancy relations services, being crucial to consistent and effective enforcement in the private rented sector.

Dave Hickling, Chair,

Andrew Greathead, Secretary

ATRO, June  2022