Working for tenants and residents

TAROE Trust closure

The Trustees of TAROE Trust have taken the decision to close down the charity and to re-distribute the remaining funds to tenant related charitable causes. The decision comes following a review of the charity which has identified unfavourable operating conditions.

In recent months TAROE Trust has applied to over 100 potential sources of core funding without success.

We have also sought to re-pivot the organisation as a knowledge hub, engaging in original and pioneering evidence-led housing research with higher education institutions. This has resulted in new and original pieces of work, such as our Feeling at Home work which drew on emotionally informed approaches to housing service delivery. However, the financial returns from such activities are marginal.

We have provided regular free to attend webinars on topical housing issues and developed a range of original resources for the sector, including our timely Respect for All Charter. We also developed a range of consultancy type services, which translated our years of direct tenant engagement with the latest in evidence-led housing knowledge.

Finally, we continued to provide direct support for tenants whilst remaining engaged with a number of high-level forums of influence on national housing policy matters, helping to shape the new and more consumer focussed regime that is now being implemented.

Whilst we could have continued in the short term, without the receipt of core funding, we would have faced a position of managing decline or been required to pursue a strategy of massively scaling up our consultancy services. The latter approach at a time when landlords across the sector are facing unprecedented cost challenges is not realistic in a relatively saturated market. It would have also taken the charity away from its core purpose.

A combination of factors therefore mean that we feel now is the right time to close the work of the charity with dignity. All services will cease by the end of December 2023.

Commenting on the closure, the charity’s Chair, Michael Gelling OBE, stated:

“I am truly disappointed and saddened that we have had to call it a day on the activities of TAROE Trust. It brings to an end a long tradition of tenant primacy.

We have worked to support and resolve issues for Tenants for many, many years. We have also undertaken a prominent role in influencing most of the national change agendas that have taken place within the housing policy sphere. More latterly, we have also participated in pioneering evidence-led housing research.

We must acknowledge the many Tenants that have voluntarily supported our work over the years, many who used their voluntary experience to acquire full-time employment. We must also acknowledge the first-rate staff we have employed and the housing professionals that have given us their time and expertise.

We hope that our closure will highlight the gap that exists at a national level for a body that represents the interests of Tenants from a Tenants’ perspective. The failure of successive Governments to fund an independent national tenant body lets Tenants down at a time when the need has never been greater. We hope that one day steps can be taken to rectify this failure.

Finally, we must never forget that if landlords really wish to empower Tenants they can. They do not need legislation or regulation just a willingness to trust those who receive their services to shape those services at all levels within their organisation.

If I was able to change one thing from the years that I have volunteered in the housing sector it would be to highlight more the few landlords that truly empower their Tenants as examples of excellence in the sector.”

TAROE Trust has a longstanding history within the Tenant movement. It was established in 2013 as a charity out of the former national Tenant membership organisation, TAROE Limited. Established in 1997 through a merger of two national tenant organisations: the National Tenants and Residents Federation (NTRF), whose origins date back to 1988, and the National Tenants Organisation (NTO), which was created in 1976. At its peak, it had a membership of over 800 member organisations that included representation of over 3 million Tenants and residents. It also held a longstanding series of up to five regional events across England and a national conference and AGM per year with many hundreds of tenants attending individual events. TAROE brought together tenants from across England – a truly tenant movement.