Coronavirus: Kilburn housing advice charity launches website to help worried private renters
PUBLISHED: 11:18 17 April 2020
Private renters in Brent who fear what coronovirus lockdown may do to their tenancies can now access a Kilburn charity’s new website.
Advice4Renters (A4R), based in Willesden Lane, is currently closed due to the Covid-19 crisis but it’s business as usual online.
The team have been planning the charity’s website since the end of last year, with an agreed launch in the first week of April little knowing how vital it would be at this time.
The charity has also developed flyers and are asking local foodbanks to help distribute them to poorer families who may not have access to the internet.
Jacky Peacock, A4R executive director, said: “The launch of our new website comes at a sombre moment, especially as Brent is one of the areas that is most seriously affected by the coronavirus.
“However, the lockdown has made us all dependent on electronic communications, so we hope that people will use our website to find the answers to some of their housing problems, and how to contact us if they need help.”
According to Brent’s Local Plan,there has been a 65per cent increase in number of households in privately rented homes in the last decade, with now over 30 pc of households in that accommodation.
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Most are provided through small-scale landlords, with varying degrees of quality.
An estimated 14,500 homes are Houses in Multiple Occupation; homes shared by two or more households.
HMOs can cause concerns to residents through adverse environmental and anti-social behavioural issues, the report adds.
Ms Peacock added: “This is a very unsatisfactory situation at the best of times, but it’s now much worse. Those in bedsits have to share bathrooms and kitchens which is a big challenge for social distancing, and is a huge worry for those self-isolating, and those they are sharing with.
“Many renters have seen their incomes reduced dramatically since the coronavirus emergency, and some landlords are not following the Government’s advice to be reasonable if tenants cannot afford the rent at the current time.
“The Government have temporarily suspended court possessions (for 90 days) but some landlords believe themselves to be above the law and a few are simply evicting tenants unlawfully. We don’t yet know how widespread this is, as we have only had two cases referred to us so far, but we suspect there will be more.
“Although our advisers are all working remotely, it’s business as usual by ‘phone and email, so renters should not hesitate to get in touch.”
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