Marks Out Of Tenancy and Impact on Urban Health Funding Annoucement
Here at Marks Out Of Tenancy we are delighted to announce that we have recently received a massive boost in the form of a grant that will fund our work for years to come.
We have teamed up with Impact on Urban Health with the shared goal of making cities and urban areas healthier places to live for renters.
This fantastic grant will let us work to improve private renting in South London, in the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, for the next three years and gives us the chance to really get involved in these communities.
By allowing tenants in Southwark and Lambeth to share their experiences of rented properties they will be able to make better informed decisions about where they choose to rent.
Impact on Urban Health focuses on improving health in inner-city areas. And with people in cities far more likely to be renting from private landlords and our health so closely tied to the state of our housing - Marks Out Of Tenancy was a natural choice to help improve the lives of renters.
“The backing and support from Impact on Urban Health ignites a new stage in the development and promotion of the Marks Out Of Tenancy project which will ultimately have a considerable impact on the lives of renters in London. We're grateful for the support from Impact on Urban Health and excited to provide everyone with regular progress updates." - Ben Yarrow, CEO of Marks Out Of Tenancy
Why Southwark and Lambeth?
The London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth have some of the highest numbers of renters anywhere in the UK. Up to 65% of households living in Southwark don’t own the homes they live in, according to the 2021 census. Meanwhile in neighbouring Lambeth that figure rises to 68% of households.
When it comes to renting from private landlords, 29% of households in Southwark rent privately and 31% in Lambeth. These numbers are way higher than in most places - across the UK the private rented sector makes up just 19% of households.
Nearly a quarter of private rented homes failed to meet the government’s Decent Homes Standard with private renters more likely to report problems like damp, according to the English Housing Survey.
By law, both privately and socially rented properties must be free of category 1 hazards (serious threats to health and safety). According to a 2021 Government report an estimated 13% of privately rented homes, 589,000 properties, fail to meet these standards due to at least one category 1 hazard, and the associated costs to the NHS are estimated to be £340 million a year. This compares with 10% of owner-occupied homes and 5% of social housing.
How can we help?
Renting a house, in South London or anywhere else, is a minefield. Anyone who has been through the process will tell you; there is no way to know what you’re getting before signing the contract.
Marks Out Of Tenancy aims to change that by giving renters a chance to look at reviews from previous tenants and providing them with valuable insight into what it’s really like to live in the property before parting with their hard earned cash. Will the landlord get the boiler fixed the day you call, or will you be waiting six weeks? Do they give the requisite 24 hours notice before coming round or are they liable to turn up unannounced? Did the last tenant get their deposit protected or was it a fight to get it back?
Our aim is to give the private rented sector a memory, allowing people to see what previous tenants have experienced to help them make better decisions about where they choose rent and who they rent from.
What will Marks Out Of Tenancy do with the funding?
Working in partnership with Impact on Urban Health (IUH), we will use this grant to expand our operations in Southwark and Lambeth specifically. We'll be rolling out a huge online and offline marketing campaign to reach as many renters as possible.We'll be making property information more readily available, helping renters understand their rights and access support more easily - with a special focus on those most at risk.
We are also expanding our operation, hiring new team members to increase our impact online, reach new tenants and keep our reviews growing.
Most importantly of all we are hiring a new outreach team who will be our presence in South London, interacting with community groups, tenants’ unions and individual renters to provide us with valuable firsthand experiences.
Who are Impact on Urban Health?
The places that we grow up, live, and work impact how healthy we are. IUH works to make urban areas healthier for everyone by looking at issues like air pollution, housing, childhood obesity and mental health among others.
They used evidence-based funding to boost projects, like Marks Out Of Tenancy, that will have the greatest impact on their core area - the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. There is a focus on sharing insight and understanding, taking what works here and sharing it with other cities to improve health outcomes around the world.
In line with this approach, Marks Out Of Tenancy aims to take what we learn from our time working with IUH in South London and use it to improve our platform, inform our ways of working and understand what else we can do to help tenants using our platform from everywhere in England.
On that note, don’t worry if you’re not a resident of Southwark or Lambeth, normal service will continue - in fact look out for some exciting new changes to the website coming soon! While the grant funding allows us to focus on these areas specifically, we will continue to help tenants across the country.
How are we working together?
Support from IUH will allow Marks Out Of Tenancy develop the platform for and with local renters on low incomes, using local networks and organisations to increase awareness and use of Marks Out Of Tenancy thanks to digital and physical promotion and incentives.
A big part of what we plan to do in South London is about connecting renters with resources related to renter’s rights, community groups, and advocacy and support. And with the data we generate over the three year project we can work with local authorities to improve regulation and enforcement in the private rented sector in the boroughs.
Michael Parsons, Portfolio Manager for Housing at Impact on Urban Health said: “We know that living in a poor-quality house with a poor-quality landlord is bad for health, mental and physical. An insecure housing situation impacts all aspects of our health and our ability to maintain employment, education, and manage our lives.
“We’re excited about working with Marks Out Of Tenancy to see how we can improve health by making conditions in the private rented sector better. Addressing the responsibilities that landlords have to their tenants - and increasing the efficiency of regulatory enforcement – is key to making renting healthier and more secure.”