The Fair Housing Futures Test and Learn Grant

Find out about current projects funded by the programme

Fair Housing Futures is committed to tackling the issues that low-income and vulnerable households often face when private renting.

Through our Test and Learn Grant programme, we're testing trailblazing solutions that:

  • improve communication between tenants, landlords and letting agents to enhance the renting journey
  • empower tenants by raising awareness of existing services, regulation and enforcement
  • support landlords by improving their awareness of regulation and enforcement and helping them manage their experiences and expectations of being a landlord
  • break the stigma of vulnerable tenants in the private renting system (PRS), particularly those in receipts of benefits.

Current projects

Projects that we are currently running will be funded between January 2020 and March 2022.

Our findings will be used to influence change in the private rented sector, both locally and nationally

Run by the Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now (ACORN), Renter's Voice Manchester will build capacity, confidence, and infrastructure to give vulnerable renters in Greater Manchester an organisation to speak for and with them.

The project will provide a programme of training and support over two years to develop renters' groups that help tenants feel happy and secure in their homes by making sure people know their rights, feel confident to use them, and can go on to help others facing similar circumstances.

Our leaders and organisers provide support and mentoring to help transform people’s housing experiences. This includes coaching in verbal and written communication, knowing your rights, negotiation, developing shared strategy, planning community campaigns and actions, taking on leadership roles, and more.

About ACORN

ACORN is the UK’s only independent community union, with over 2,500 donating members across the UK. We exist to give deprived, marginalised communities much more control over the things that are important to them. To achieve this, we bring people together and provide training to enable them to form powerful, effective, and connected local groups that work together to speak for themselves and solve their own problems.

Contact us

For more information, visit ACORN's website or email the contacts below:

The PRS Navigators service provides regular outreach at various letting agency offices in key boroughs of North Greater Manchester. Agents can refer or invite clients currently housed with them who are in rent arrears, on low-incomes, or who need assistance applying for welfare assistance. This aims to help tenants facing homelessness to address any debts and stabilise their tenancies.

We also work with Local Authorities to address any complaints made to council services about poor management standards, such as illegal notices, harassment or other management practices which a tenant may feel inappropriate. We provide 'soft touch' enforcement, addressing concerns with the owner or agent through the outreach work, highlighting better management practices and how to avoid complaints.

To build relationships between tenants and landlords, we look for existing PRS tenants on Universal Credit to volunteer with us. This way, each party will have a deeper understanding of the welfare reforms and process once the Navigator project ends, leaving a legacy of informed tenants and landlords who work more closely together.

About the Bond Board

The Bond Board is a homeless charity that provides services to support homeless and vulnerable private rented households so that they can access and maintain housing in the PRS. Offering a wide range of services, our aim is to promote good quality, affordable housing accessible to all.

Contact us

For more information, visit the Bond Board website or find us at 209-211 Bury Rd, Rochdale, OL11 4EE.

Run by the Justlife Foundation, Inform to Transform aims to improve the experiences of tenants and landlords of ‘hidden’ private rented sector unsupported temporary accommodation (PRS UTA). Operating in the North, East and South Manchester, Rochdale and Tameside, the project provides resources specifically tailored to each area it covers.

Our approach is to ‘be the carrot’, offering support to landlords and residents, recognising good practice and positive movement forward, with the council still acting as 'the stick' and having the power to enforce legislation and standards. This approach has delivered positive change in our work to date, both for PRS landlords and their residents.

About Justlife

Justlife exists primarily to ensure that tenants’ experience of living in private rented sector unsupported temporary accommodation is as short, safe, and healthy as possible.

Delivering front line projects in Manchester and Brighton and Hove, supporting people in unsupported temporary accommodation and their landlords as well as aiming to have a local and national impact through its Research and Policy team.

Contact us

For more information, visit the Justlife website or contact Ruth Cox on 01612 855 888 or 07527 227 588.

You can also contact us by post to 1479–1489 Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, Manchester, M11 1HH.

This project offers a dedicated officer to support landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) in addressing and responding to anti-social behaviour.

Our work aims to enhance the reputation of the PRS within Salford and help prevent poorly managed PRS properties from having a negative impact on local communities.

By providing a dedicated officer resource to assist private sector landlords, we will help them to effectively respond to and manage anti-social behaviour where it occurs within their tenancies.

Through this work, we aim to enhance and improve the skills of private sector landlords, to enable them to successfully resolve incidences of anti-social behaviour at the earlier opportunity.

Contact us

For more information about the project, get in touch with Irwell Valley homes or Salford Council.

This project takes a targeted approach in Leigh, an area within the Wigan Borough where there are particular concerns regarding the private rented sector. By introducing a Tenants' Champion into the community, we're encouraging real communication and engagement to facilitate a strong, supportive network of renters, landlords, and agents who work together to resolve issues by sharing best practice and outcomes.

The Tenants' Champion's work includes helping increase private renters’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and acting as their ‘voice’ and advocate in engaging with the landlord when issues are identified. The Champion also works with landlords to ensure that properties are being managed ethically and there are no failures in meeting obligations, taking a firm stance through targeted enforcement action when faced with non-compliance.

About Wigan Council

Wigan Council provide essential services to over 320,000 local residents and, as a social landlord, own and manage 22,000 homes in the borough.

At the heart of everything we do is The Deal, an informal agreement between the council and everyone who lives or works in Wigan to join forces in creating a better borough. A key priority within this is ‘A home for all’, our aspiration to be a borough that provides quality, affordable, and accessible homes that are part of safe and connected communities.

Contact us

Find out more on the Wigan Council website or contact Amber Berry, Senior Private Rented Sector Officer, by email to a.barry@wigan.gov.uk or by phone on 012942 489 209.