Blue skies and sunshine welcomed National Trust Tenant Custodians from near and far to our AGM in West Somerset in October.
A big thank you to all who attended! We hold these meetings in different parts of the country each year. Your ideas on where we should hold the 2024 event will be welcome.
The near capacity audience heard presentations from CPRE (The Countryside Charity) and NT senior managers, with Questions and Answer sessions following each speaker.
TANT is supporting the CPRE campaign for Rooftop Revolution seeking solar energy to every new development and for barriers to be removed that prevent solar on existing roofs.
The NT provided more detail on its current nature programme and work across the whole spectrum of NT activities. Concern was expressed by local farmers on Bovine TB with the possibility of widespread infection in the Red Deer of Exmoor.
Local tenants were concerned about lack of repairs and maintenance to their homes with particular emphasis on damp, mould and heating costs. The new NT tenant 24 hour repair reporting procedure was mostly working well but less so where more substantial work is required to a property. This was confirmed with the Chair’s address starting with a report that the Trust had carried out a Tenant Satisfaction survey last December 2022.
Most tenants who responded were satisfied with the Trust as Landlords but were concerned about energy efficiency, timescales for larger repairs and communication. The report confirmed that the NT are investing £30million this year in repairs and maintenance but are prioritising legal compliance and emergency repairs.
TANT continues to push for this figure to be significantly increased and for improved work quality supervised by NT staff.
The Trust’s annual accounts show income for the year to 28/2/2023 for Rents at £49.3million with tenants subject to continuing rent increases.
TANT has dealt with many tenant problems in the past year and answered numerous queries. After a long campaign by TANT, the Trust has a new Complaints Procedure, which is much easier to follow and with two opportunities for external input.
Leasehold reform bill
We are part of the Renters Reform Coalition which is campaigning for the Leasehold Reform Bill currently before Parliament. Key elements include the ending of Section 21 no fault evictions, a legal requirement for better housing conditions and the possibility of NT long leases being extended from 99 years to 990 years.
In Slindon our President, Andrew Turner-Cross, has been working with the local community on an affordable housing project with the NT providing the land at token cost. Our Patron Michael Eavis CBE is a strong advocate for this type of development and has provided land for a number of projects. TANT thanks Michael for his Patronage and with him will seek to persuade the NT to provide land in this way across the country.
Andrew Turner-Cross, TANT’s current appointee to the Council of the NT, gave a report on its operation and activities in the last 12 months.
The Treasurer Peter Murphy provided the audited accounts for the financial year to 31/3/23, the current bank balance and confirmed that financial matters were on a sound footing at this time.
Committee appointments and amendments to the Constitution were ratified and there was approval for a Resolution on the need for increased funding for NT housing.
The following Committee Members were elected going forward:
A painting of the Packhorse Bridge in Allerford was presented to former Chair Joanna Leighton and former Treasurer Mark Morris to thank them for their years of voluntary service to TANT.
TANT wishes to thank the volunteers who helped on the weekend of the event, the tenants who came locally and from far away, the guest speakers, the committee and our Patron Michael Eavis CBE for his support.