Blog: Private Landlord Support in Dundee
By Laura Fairlie from Shelter Scotland
I have been working with Private landlords now for a couple of months in my new role as Private Landlord Support Worker here in Dundee.
It has been really illuminating to get an inside perspective on how landlords feel about issues such as the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill, and the various pieces of new legislation that have been implemented PRHP Guidance on new legislation.
The queries I have dealt with so far have been diverse, ranging from advice about energy efficiency upgrades to requests to help tenants who have fallen into arrears. As with Advice+, knowing what other agencies I can work with to benefit clients and landlords is vital in providing a holistic service, such as Energy Saving Trust.
The most pleasing aspect about the work so far has been working with the landlords that have approached me for help with their tenants – they have genuine concerns about their tenant’s wellbeing and see moving towards repossession as a last resort. I have been able to work with Dundee City Council Welfare Rights to help get Housing benefit awarded and ESA in place, and link clients into Penumbra for ongoing mental health support and work. I intend to work closely with the Dundee Hub and utilise all of the excellent services on offer to help tenants I work with maintain their home – which ultimately is beneficial for both tenant and landlord!
My post is all about improving standards in the Private Rented Sector across the city – Dundee is a city on the up, with projects such as the V&A contributing to it being seen as Britain’s ‘coolest little city’. We want our Private Rented Sector to reflect this. PRS housing outstripped social housing in the city for the first time last year and this is a trend that is set to continue. The PRS has become a core housing option for individuals and families throughout the city, with Homefinders- a service that works with tenants and private landlords to set up tenancies – becoming a core element in the Local Authority’s Housing Options service. It is against this backdrop that the Private Landlord Support post has been launched in the city.
I work on a one to one basis with landlords in Dundee and assist them operate to the best possible standard. The service educates landlords on legislative requirements and best practice, as well as access to other useful services. I will also offer to liaise with tenants where necessary to help improve tenancy sustainment through introducing the tenant to any appropriate support or income maximisation assistance. For those landlords that are falling short of the expected standard, it is an opportunity to engage in an informal basis and accept assistance at an early intervention stage, prior to enforcement action being considered.
Based within the Private Sector Services Unit, I work closely with the Enforcement Officers, Registration Team and Homefinders. You can get in touch with me, Laura Fairlie, 01382 433236 or by email at Laura.Fairlie@dundeecity.gov.uk