The Private Rented Sector (PRS) Project is funded by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as a part of the Whole Housing Approach (WHA), which endeavours to improve the housing options and outcomes for people experiencing domestic abuse so that they can achieve stable housing, live safely and overcome the abuse and its harmful impacts.

The PRS Project is led by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance’s (DAHA) PRS Development Manager and supported by the DAHA and Whole Housing Approach Teams.

The need for a private rented sector response

Individuals living in the PRS are just as likely to experience domestic abuse as those living in social housing. This project is the first of its kind to specifically develop the private rented sectors role in the Coordinated Community Response to domestic abuse and address the unique and significant barriers that PRS tenants face when seeking safe and stable housing at a time when they need it most. Some of these barriers include:

  • the legal complexities of joint tenancies shared with the perpetrator,
  • rent arrears and damages accrued by perpetrators as a form of coercive control and economic abuse, leading to survivor evictions, subsequent homelessness and long-term debt.
  • a reliance on permission from landlords to change locks or increase safety measures, and
  • inconsistent, inaccessible and expensive legal advice and remedies when survivors try to remain safely in their privately rented home.

As a result, survivors often find their only option is to end their current tenancies with the perpetrator, become homeless, and then carry the financial penalties of starting again, including being solely responsible for rent, arrears, bills, legal fees and any damage caused to the property. We believe this is unacceptable and policy and practice needs to change so that survivors do not need to become homeless in order to achieve safety from the perpetrator.

However, when survivors are provided with real housing options, clear advice, and the support of informed landlords, letting agents and specialist domestic abuse practitioners, then they can make the right decision for themselves and their families about their safety and long-term housing needs.  


Project aim & objectives

The aim of the PRS project is to enable survivors living in the PRS to achieve safety and stable housing, including the viable option to remain in their privately rented home long term if it is their choice and safe to do so.  

This framework is dependent on achieving five key objectives:

  • Influence policy and legislation that will support survivors living in the private rented sector to achieve safety while accessing and maintaining stable housing. This includes addressing longstanding tenancies issues that make it nearly impossible for survivors to become safe from abuse without ending their own tenancies and becoming homeless. 
  • Develop a gold standard of best practice for how private housing professionals can respond to domestic abuse, including the specific roles of landlords, letting agents and local authority PRS teams, which will be formalised into a set of DAHA accreditation standards for the PRS.
  • Provide education, guidance and resources to survivors, landlords/letting agents, local authorities and specialist practitioners as detailed below
  • Use and develop research that helps us all to understand the experiences of survivors living in the PRS, landlords/letting agencies, and specialist practitioners.
  • Support local areas to develop a localised Whole Housing Approach which is responsive to the needs of survivors living in the private rented sector.


A coordinated community response

As a part of the Coordinated Community Response, the PRS projects focuses on supporting all community members and professionals that have a role to play in enabling individuals living in the PRS to achieve safety and stable housing.  To this extent, we are focusing specifically on developing a framework of support for:

  • Survivors living in the PRS to directly access information and advice about their tenancy rights and options to remain in their homes or relocate, depending on their safety circumstances and personal choices.
  • Landlords and letting agents to access guidance, education and frameworks of best practice for how they can support their tenants experiencing domestic abuse to safely remain in their homes or relocate without carrying the burden of starting again.
  • Specialist domestic abuse practitioners to access education, guidance and advice on how to support their clients to safely remain in their privately rented home or relocate.
  • Local authority areas to access support, guidance and advice and a framework of best practice on how they can support PRS landlords and specialist domestic abuse service in their local areas to have a safe, effective and consistent response to domestic abuse as a part of the Whole Housing Approach.

Below are links to guidance and resources for survivors, PRS letting agents and landlords, specialist domestic abuse practitioners and local authority housing teams.

Project partnerships

Since the PRS project began in 2018, it has developed relationships with national and local housing and domestic abuse expert partners who have played a vital role in creating an effective and sustainable response to domestic abuse within the PRS.  Some of these partners include

  • Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA)
  • Shelter
  • Women’s Aid Federation of England
  • Law for Life
  • Partners within the Domestic Abuse and Housing Policy and Practice Group
  • National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)
  • Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
  • Institute of Residential Property Managers
  • Fixflo
  • Pilot partner across Cambridgeshire, Stockton-on-Tees and Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea


If you would like more information, please contact the Private Rented Sector Development Manager at DAHA and Standing Together. Email: