Private renters in East Suffolk have had their say in a survey as part of East Suffolk Council’s plans to improve homes in the district.
With almost 15,000 privately rented homes in East Suffolk, East Suffolk Council is seeking to better understand the challenges faced by private renters, as part of its work to ensure that homes in the district are secure, safe and energy efficient.
The Council has therefore partnered with Generation Rent, the national campaigning body for private renters, to launch a pilot consultation for private renters who live in the Harbour & Normanston ward, Beccles & Worlingham ward or Aldeburgh & Leiston ward.
As part of this, private renters in the three pilot wards were invited to share their experiences, good or bad, in a recent survey. In total, the survey received 130 responses.
Findings from the survey revealed that private renters in the three wards are most concerned about losing their tenancy, being unable to move into homeownership and rent increases. It also highlighted that almost 50% of those surveyed are concerned to some degree about being asked to leave their home by their landlord or letting agent this year.
When asked where to go for information, only 5% said they would go to East Suffolk Council and over 80% said they have never visited the Council’s website for information about their tenancy or housing. Despite this, 63% said they would welcome more guidance from the Council about their rights as a private renter.
Cllr Richard Kerry, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Housing, said: “I want to thank everyone who took part in this survey and shared their experiences as private renters. This has helped us get a clearer picture of the challenges faced by private renters and what their main concerns are. We will now continue our work with Generation Rent with the aim to improve communication so that private renters are more aware of their rights and what the Council can do for them.”
Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, said: “It is great that East Suffolk Council will be pursuing a programme of future engagement with the private renters in the district. While many vulnerable private renters face several challenges relating to their homes and tenancies, so few know that East Suffolk Council can support them. This project is providing renters in East Suffolk with the platform to be heard and to learn more about their rights.”
As part of the consultation, East Suffolk Council and Generation Rent will be running focus group discussions later this year. Anyone who rents privately in East Suffolk can get involved in these, regardless of which ward they live in. Eligible participants will receive a £10 shopping voucher.
This project is part of a larger nationwide project that has been launched by Generation Rent with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.