The Church of England has said that parish churches should get more involved in local housing issues across England and has given landlord licensing its blessing.
Its Commission on Housing, Church and Community argues that as a significant landowner, it has to lead by example, particularly after listening to parish clergy who are reporting that pastoral problems are often linked to housing.
It highlights one Ealing parish that’s leading the way by backing the local council’s efforts to introduce selective licensing in the borough.
St Barnabas’s and Christ the Saviour churches started a campaign about affordable housing and lobbied candidates at the local elections, with a demand that Ealing should extend selective landlord licensing across the whole borough.
All of them agreed to back the idea, although the council has yet to implement this.
Its new Coming Home report calls on the government to provide greater protection for private sector tenants through longer-term security of tenure and by placing a duty of care on all landlords.
It wants a thorough review of tenancy agreements in the private rented sector and for the removal of Section 21 evictions.
The report says: “We urge the government to deliver on its manifesto commitment and to ensure predictable rents and long-term security of tenure, with a clear, limited set of exceptions.”
It adds: “Landlords, particularly in the social rented sector, should ensure that the voices of tenants are heard, considered and acted on in designing services for tenants.”
The commission also urges ministers to review the social security system and its failure to provide adequate housing support for low-income household. It recommends the restoration of Local Housing Allowances to median rents in each local area.
PIC credit: www.churchofengland.org