Blog: We need to make renting secure and fair by Mashhood Ahmed

Before I applied to be a resident commissioner, I knew that Croydon faced a housing challenge. But I didn’t quite realise how big it was.

Over the past few months, we’ve looked at the facts and listened to the people affected.

We’ve heard how short-term tenancies have made families homeless. We’ve heard about the overcrowded, sub-standard conditions some residents live in. We’ve heard from headteachers how children’s education often suffers because families have to move from place to place.

We’ve also learned that the number of families in receipt of housing benefit has increased over time – and yet the maximum payable in housing benefit is enough to cover rents in only a third of the private sector.

And we’ve heard from Citizens Advice Croydon that as many as eight out of ten private landlords do not accept tenants on benefits.

These pressures limit opportunity for people in Croydon and are unfair on those affected.

How can a child do their homework if there isn’t any space at home? How can a family plan for the future when their rents could be hiked? How can communities come together when some neighbours could be forced to move on?

To look at ways of facing up to this challenge, we’ve been concentrating on what can be achieved in Croydon. We want to look at what opportunities exist through current laws and we want to use the borough’s assets more effectively.

Some ideas in our interim report that we think will make a difference are:

• to set up a fighting fund to help families who cannot manage a deposit in the private rented sector or face short-term difficulties with benefits or pay;
• to set up a Good Landlord Charter, which would encourage private landlords to accept tenants in receipt of benefits, offer early support when tenants fall into arrears and promote best practice for disabled tenants; and
• to encourage support for money-wise courses and workshops, particularly for those who fall into arrears with their rent. 

Between now and the final report, all of our efforts are being focused on how we can turn these ideas into action.

To do this, we need to hear your views on these ideas and your thoughts on how we can make renting fairer and more secure in Croydon.

To get in touch Tweet us, email us on, or give us a call on 0800 612 2182.


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