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Toynbee Hall launches new service to support private tenants through welfare reform

Published: 28 May 2013


Tenancy Talks is a new and innovative service offered by Toynbee Hall and funded by the Money Advice Trust to support private tenants who will be affected by the Welfare Reform Act. 

Why is the project needed? 

Many changes are due to take place to the benefits system starting in April 2013.  The first major challenge to thousands of households will be the Benefits Cap which is due to be introduced nationally between July-September 2013.  The Department of Work and Pensions has predicted that 56,000 households will have their benefits reduced by the policy, losing on average £93 per week. 

The Tenancy Talks project  is specifically targeting households in privately-rented accommodation. Private tenants who receive housing benefit tend to experience higher debt and disadvantage than those in social housing, and lack the support provided by social landlords.  Furthermore, private-renting  households in areas such as Tower Hamlets, where rents are particularly high, will be disproportionally affected by certain changes in policy. 

What will the project do?

  • Raise awareness amongst  people living in Tower Hamlets about the benefit changes that are due to take place.
  • Offer one-to-one support to 300 private-renting households in the borough, helping to ensure that people are in a better position to make informed choices about their housing and financial issues. 
  • Set up referral systems to ensure that private-renters can access appropriate support such as specialist debt and money management advice.
  • Provide housing advice and if necessary assist households to explore alternative housing options. 
  • Collect information and data which helps us build an understanding of the issues and needs of private tenants in the borough, to influence current work, and inform the development of new initiatives.


Jamie Palmer, Housing Engagement Officer at Toynbee Hall states -  “This is understandably an extremely worrying and confusing time for hundreds of households in Tower Hamlets who will be affected by benefit cuts.  It is really important for people to get advice and support at the earliest opportunity and we are here to help.  If you know of any private-renting households that are likely to require support or have any queries about the service please get in touch.”

Visit the Tenancy Talks Tower Hamlets page 

If you have any questions please contact