Tpas Visit All Ireland Tenant Engagement Conference
Tuesday 20th of June 2023
I was delighted to attend the first All Ireland Tenant Engagement Conference yesterday right on the border between the North and South of Ireland - what a beautiful part of the world!
There was a real buzz of excitement bringing housing tenants and professionals together to enable mutual learning and the sharing of good practice.
We heard from the wonderful Lesley Baird, former CEO of TPAS Scotland, who described how in 1915 tenants, largely women, in Glasgow resisted rent rises for poor quality housing – whilst their men were away fighting - they started a rent strike which 25,000 tenants joined within weeks forcing government to freeze rents at 1914 levels until improvements were made to properties. I’m not suggesting we tenants have to go to such lengths today but it is a reminder of what can be achieved through collective action.
A key theme throughout the day was the need to have the tenants’ voice throughout organisations with EVERY member of staff committed to tenant involvement and not just those who deal directly with them and their families. A second takeaway was the need for authentic and honest conversations rather than those which over promise and under deliver!
Of course it was the tenants who had incredible stories to tell – the way they have overcome personal challenge and adversity to make a difference to their communities. If you listen to your tenants – really listen not just lip service - involve and invest in them they can help to improve services and communities and consequently change lives for the better.
Adele Rae, Tpas Board Member