Wood Green man to tackle stigma around low income tenants

Upile Chasowa, 23, experienced first-hand the prejudice that can prevent people on benefits from renting

Upile Chasowa, 23, experienced first-hand the prejudice that can prevent people on benefits from renting

First published in News
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Haringey Independent: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

  A Wood Green man has set out to challenge landlords who refuse to let homes to tenants on benefits.

After growing up in a council house, Upile Chasowa, 23, experienced first-hand the prejudice that can prevent people on benefits from renting in the private sector.

He has teamed up with Fixers, a charity that helps young people aged 16 to 25 tackle issues affecting them, and produced two online booklets.

He said: “When I was younger, my family moved into a council house after my mum was made redundant. It was very difficult for us to get ourselves back into private housing after that. It wasn’t until I’d graduated and found a job that we were able to rent privately.”

One ‘e-booklet’ will encourage private landlords to take on more people with benefits or those with low incomes, while the second will be for tenants- giving them tips on budgeting and how to make the best use of food and of space.

Professor Sara Chandler, who specialises in landlord and tenant law at London South Bank University, supports Upile’s campaign.

She said: “Landlords' misconceptions really need myth-busting. Some think that people on housing benefit might trash their property, but nothing could be further from the truth.

“They would like professionals but often that means they will only stay for a short time and every time the tenants change the landlord is going to be incurring expense.”

Mr Chasowa added: “My aim is to remove this perception around tenants on low income.

“Eight months ago I sent up my own online letting company. A lot of the tenants on benefits, when they got hold of the landlords, it was literally just a straight no. Not all of them are bad tenants – look at me.”

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