What Letting Agents need to know about Domestic Abuse
And how they can help potential sufferers
DID you know that two million people are victims of domestic violence every year - or that two women die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner each week? Domestic abuse is an issue that affects everyone but, because of the unique knowledge they have about the living situations of their tenants, lettings agents could be in a position to help.
Although under no legal obligation to report or advise anyone experiencing domestic violence, lettings agents who would like to make a difference should be aware that the following signs could suggest domestic abuse:
Noise complaints or anti-social behaviour reports– if neighbouring properties complain about shouting or rows late at night or report that your tenants are behaving in an anti-social or threatening way, this could be a sign that domestic abuse is occurring.
Recurring repairs to walls, windows or doors– while every property is subject to wear and tear, if you are being repeatedly ask to fix broken windows and doors, it could be that the breakages are a result of violence in the home.
Request for a change of locks or broken locks– if one tenant requests that the locks be changed, it may be that the relationship between your tenants is dysfunctional. With more families now living in private rented accommodation than social housing, signs like these should be paid attention to.
Lettings agents who suspect signs of domestic abuse in one of their properties should consider taking the following steps:
If there is a risk to children in the home, contact social services or ring the domestic abuse national helpline. In cases of immediate danger don’t hesitate to call 999.
At the beginning of a tenancy, making additional effort to be approachable and including details of what to do if you are the victim of domestic abuse in your property’s welcome pack could provide victims with a safe haven. Fixflo will be creating a specialist leaflet with further information for victims for inclusion in the welcome packs for interested agents.
Invest in training for your staff – when it comes to domestic abuse, one of the biggest problems is a lack of awareness. Training up staff within agents about what they can do to help in these cases is the first step to providing victims with the support that they need.
For further information about domestic abuse and the role that lettings agents can play in stopping in it, please consider downloading our FREE E-book ‘Domestic Abuse and the Letting Industry – how you can make a difference’.
Fixflo’s Domestic Abuse and Letting Industry has been produced in conjunction with DAHA (Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance)
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