Govan Law Centre celebrates funding for Private Rented Tenants Project

A GLC solicitor and caseworker with a client

Govan Law Centre (GLC) has welcomed the news that the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities Programme is providing a grant over three years to establish its Private Rented Tenants Project.

Providing vital work on behalf of tenants throughout Glasgow, the project is made up of dedicated solicitors, housing caseworker/coordinator, financial inclusion and capability caseworkers and a welfare rights worker. At a time of forthcoming legislative changes and considerable increase in private renting use in Scotland, the project is providing valuable support to individuals and families faced with challenging situations.

GLC has developed the service by setting up city-wide ‘Rights Hubs’ as well as a dedicated email box to ensure easy and accessible routes to help for tenants all over Glasgow who are experiencing difficulty with their private tenancy, landlord or letting agency putting them at risk of homelessness.

GLC said: “Tenants who would normally feel powerless, ignored or in a hopeless position are seeking our specialist help to have their voices heard and find long term solutions to their housing situation.”

An example of this can be found in Craig, whose financial problems meant that his landlord was taking action to evict him. The Private Rented Tenants Project was able to advocate for him with his landlord and maximise his benefits income to sustain him in the property.

Craig said: “I feel that I am really getting the help I need now. I would normally rely on family to help, but they could not help with this. I feel my stress levels have gone down and I am getting more money now due to my disabilities. I really appreciate having this support.”

GLC is continuing to develop and expand the service to ensure more tenants can benefit from its help and learn some key skills for gaining financial stability.

GLC’s principal solicitor Mike Dailly said: “The grant from the Big Lottery Fund Investing in Communities Programme provides Govan Law Centre with the vital resources to set up our city wide Private Rented Sector (PRS) Tenants Project which will work on behalf of Private Rented Sector Tenants who are at risk of homelessness through the actions of their landlord or letting agency.

“This comes at a time when the private rented sector has doubled since 2001 and where PRS households make up 15 per cent of all households in Scotland. It is also a time of legislative change with the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 in the process of being implemented; the new Act has the potential to make PRS tenancies more insecure.”

GLC’s prevention of homeless senior manager, Alistair Sharp, said: “GLC’s Big Lottery Funded PRS research presented the voice of tenants living in the private rented sector in Glasgow and revealed that many feel Powerless with no expectation, choice or security; a private rented sector where a tenant’s right to a safe, secure, maintained and affordable home are too often ignored by letting agencies and landlords.

“We will fight for tenants’ rights and provide financial inclusion and capability solutions that ensure the tenants voice is heard and that their rights as tenants are not ignored and will ensure tenants are empowered, are secure, are able to choose, can expect to live in a safe, well maintained, secure and affordable home and that Govan Law Centres Private Rented Sector Project dedicated city wide team will fight for them and with them to secure their rights.”

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