Gap in provision of mental health support services proving “real barrier” to vulnerable people keeping homes

The Tyfu Tai Cymru project, part of CIH Cymru, has today released its research on private renting and mental health in Wales.

The research was undertaken by Tai Pawb and Paul Bevan (independent researcher) and draws together the views of support organisations and private landlords on what actions can be taken to better support people living with mental health problems in the private rented sector.

The report found that:

  • One in three support organisations feel there is ‘never’ enough mental health support for tenants renting privately
  • 62 per cent of landlords have had, or currently have a tenant with a mental health problem
  • Almost half of private landlords felt they ‘never’ had enough support or information to support tenants living with mental health problems
  • Landlords would like to access more information and support
  • Early intervention is key to helping people maintain their tenancy
  • There are suggestions that people with mental health problems sometimes face discrimination when trying to access private rented sector housing

Private landlords told us that the solution to the problems are straightforward; that there should be better advice available online for what landlords and tenants can do to access support. 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 support.

CIH Cymru makes the following recommendations:

  • Welsh Government to provide comprehensive information for private rented sector landlords and letting agents regarding local and national mental health support
  • Relicensing through Rent Smart Wales should require all private sector landlords to complete a module on mental health to improve their knowledge of how to access support for tenants with mental health problems.
  • Local authorities should develop crisis/emergency housing-related support services for people with mental health problems in the private rented sector to support tenants to stay in their own homes
  • Services should be shaped and delivered with the expertise and insights of tenants living with mental health problems in the private rented sector

Tyfu Tai Cymru manager Catherine May said:

“People with mental health problems who rent privately simply aren’t getting enough support and timely access to services to maintain their tenancy and live well in their own home. It is also evident that private landlords often don’t feel well equipped in managing a tenancy where someone has a mental health problem.

“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.

“The picture is at best one of inconsistency in people’s experiences – we must ensure that the very best proactive approaches evident within this research becomes the norm for all private landlords in Wales.”

Glenn Page, senior policy and campaigns officer at Mind Cymru, said:

“We welcome this report from Tyfu Tai Cymru – it is clear that there is a lack of support for both tenants and landlords. Providing adequate and effective services to support landlords and tenants experiencing mental health problems will not only reduce the growing pressure on mental health services; it is a crucial element of providing the sort of holistic mental health support we know is needed for recovery and to stay well.”

  • Download the full Private renting and mental health report in English or Welsh.