New tenants’ champion will fight for a better deal for private renters

Published: Friday 11th January 19

Wandsworth Council has appointed a Tenants’ Champion to speak up for people across the borough.

Mira Bar-Hillel was the property correspondent of the Evening Standard for more than 30 years and has a huge wealth of knowledge and expertise as one of London’s most experienced housing campaigners.

As Wandsworth Tenants Champion, Mira will help people living in private rented and housing accommodation with any disputes they may have.

These could include matters such as unfair agency fees, establishing who is responsible for routine repairs and maintenance, failure by a landlord or agent to respond to a reasonable request and antagonistic behaviour towards a tenant.

Mira said: “My personal mission is that private sector tenants in Wandsworth, including those in housing associations, have the accommodation that they are paying for and that it is safe, secure and decent.

“Private sector tenants should not be expected to live with major disruptions to their daily lives like leaky pipes, mould, broken boilers and showers, and toilets that don’t flush.

“I can help provide advice including which section of Wandsworth Council can help you as the situation requires. I can also pick up the phone and crack the whip and there are legal measures that can be taken against landlords and agents if necessary.”

She added: “I intend to roll up my sleeves and work tirelessly to resolve the problems of local people living in the private rented sector within the existing legal framework – while campaigning to improve it to their benefit."

Cabinet member for Housing, Cllr Kim Caddy, said: “This is a role we’ve created to help support our tenants when they have any concerns or issues and we are absolutely delighted to have Mira on board as our tenant’s champion.

“During her career she has continually stood up for tenants’ rights including a campaign which resulted in legislation enabling millions of leaseholders to fight back against rogue landlords and agents.

“She will bring her vast experience and passion to Wandsworth. While the vast majority of landlords are responsible, we know problems can arise and we are not prepared to let Wandsworth residents living in the private rented sector to be treated unfairly.

“As our tenants champion Mira will ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to safeguarding tenants’ rights in Wandsworth regardless of who the landlord is.”

In your email please provide:

  • The full address of the disputed property including the postcode
  • The name and contact details of the landlord and/or agent
  • Your name and contact phone number
  • Then add full details of the dispute, in date order, from when you first moved into the property.

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Recent comments

The WBC charging the leaseholders a vast amount of money through service charges and this charges will have to be passed to tenants hence the rents are high. The WBC should stop spending our money like there is not tomorrow and leave the communal areas of the buildings on satch horrible conditions that is disgusting to pass by.

19 January 2019

This is definitely a step in the right direction! Good landlords have nothing to fear. Bad tenants will probably find Ms Bar-Hillel to be very unsympathetic if they fail to pay their rent. However, rents in the borough are extremely high. Too much privately rented accommodation is poorly maintained. Agents' fees are excessive, both for tenants and for landlords. Landlords need to have patience with ordinary working people who earn only a fraction of the income of their landlord. I am sick and tired of hearing overpaid landlords complaining that they are being poorly treated by their struggling tenants. Ponder the subject of intergenerational fairness and try to exercise a bit of diplomacy, instead of sounding like a spoilt brat.

12 January 2019

The present government is hostile to landlords. A Corbyn government would be even worse. This appointment does not appear to be even handed. Landlords needs greater protection from tenants who fail to meet their obligations. It is cumbersome, risky and expensive to remove tenants. This appointment should be balanced by the appointment of a champion for landlords.
Dr Mark Gretason

12 January 2019

About time. But we really need someone to look after leaseholders' interests as well. How about, it, Wandsworth.
susan lofthouse

11 January 2019