Participation, activism and empowerment for private tenants
While tenant participation and engagement in social housing is well researched, the same cannot be said for the private rented sector (PRS). We recently completed a literature review on tenant participation in the PRS that looked at both academic and non-academic sources.
We found a diverse but really very small evidence base on this topic. It showed that, despite the diversity of tenants in the PRS today, collective action is growing and can be successful. However, too often activists’ energy is expended in ensuring that existing rights are enforced, leaving limited scope to progressively improve tenants’ rights and conditions.
Over the last 20 years, the PRS has grown and changed in all parts of the UK. In Wales and Scotland, the sector has more than doubled in size since the turn of the century. In England and Northern Ireland, the PRS has now overtaken social housing to become the second most common tenure.
Alongside this, the PRS has evolved from acting mainly as a transitional tenure for students and people saving up to purchase a property. It now draws in more low-income households, families and older people, many of whom spend many years in the sector…
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