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CIH Cymru – ‘Everyone deserves to feel secure in their home’

Catherine May outlines the lessons from new research into private renting and mental health.

In February 2019, the Tyfu Tai Cymru project published a report examining the support available for private landlords who have tenants with mental health problems in Wales. We identified this topic as a priority for our research and policy-influencing work after conversations held with housing professionals across the country. We worked with our partner, Tai Pawb, to gather the views of support organisations and private landlords.

We launched the report at an event at the National Assembly for Wales. This included a presentation from someone with direct experience of the issues who was currently living with her children in temporary accommodation after a tenancy in the private rented sector had ended. She told us about the impact of this instability on her mental health and her belief that ‘everyone deserves to feel secure in their home’.

In our report we make a series of practical recommendations which were welcomed by Welsh Government. We asked the government to provide comprehensive information for landlords and letting agents regarding mental health support and for better cooperation between crisis services and landlords so people do not lose their tenancies if they need to stay in hospital.

Our report found that while two-thirdsof landlords have had a tenant with a mental health problem, one in three support organisations feel there is ‘never’ enough mental health support for tenants renting privately, and almost half of private landlords felt they ‘never’ had enough information to support tenants.

When we asked landlords what would help they told us they want better access to information and support and that early intervention is key to helping people maintain their tenancies. The landlords who were best able to manage the tenancies were those who had their own experience of mental health problems within their families and knew how to access services.

Private landlords and tenants need a voice in how support services are planned and delivered and they themselves need to know where to go for high-quality advice and information to support a tenant living with a mental health problem.

Tyfu Tai Cymru (TTC) is a five-year housing policy project with a focus on providing insightful analysis and filling evidence gaps to support policy progression. Funded by Oak Foundation, the project is managed by the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru. TTC works across three key strands: building the right homes to meet demand, making sure housing is always a priority for local government and demonstrating housing’s role in keeping people well and healthy.

Catherine May is manager of Tyfu Tai Cymru

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