Rebel Renter #3

4 November 2019 — London Renters Union

Welcome to issue 3 of Rebel Renter, a newsletter chock full of updates about all of the organising we’re doing together in the London Renters Union. 

Our Renters Manifesto

Today we launched our Renter Manifesto, a set of proposals from organisations across the renters movement to transform the housing system. The manifesto has been written jointly with Generation Rent, ACORN, Tenants Union UK, Renters Rights London and the New Economics Foundation.

It’s a bold, radical manifesto including calls for:

  • Rent controls so no one has to spend more than a third of their income on rent.
  • Public investment in a massive public housebuilding programme.
  • Private rented homes brought into democratic public ownership.

You can read the manifesto in full here: http://www.rentermanifesto.org/read_the_manifesto_full.

During the election, we’ll be pushing all of the main parties to respond to the proposals.

You can sign up to support it here: http://www.rentermanifesto.org/LRU.

Campaigns workshop
November 16, 1-4pm at CAN Mezzanine, 49-51 East Road, London, NI 6AH RSVP on Facebook.
We’re organising a campaigns workshop to develop our plans around the manifesto further and to make sure the housing crisis is at the top of the agenda during this election. We’ll also be talking about our rent controls campaigning.

If you’re interested in getting involved in our elections organising before November 16, let us know by filling out this form.

What’s happening

Marian Court protest  ��- You’ve hopefully already heard about the big, beautiful, uplifting protest we organised along with East End Sisters Uncut in September about Hackney Council’s treatment of our members Shahbana and Margaret. The council has been failing to adequately rehouse them despite wanting to demolish Marian Court, the block the two families live in. The good news is that following the protest and tireless organising by Margaret over many months, the council have now stopped trying to force her into a hostel that would have been dangerous for her daughter’s health conditions. They’re now finally discussing serious rehousing options with Margaret.

Unfortunately, some council management seem determined to punish Shahbana for speaking out against the council’s Islamophobia and still want to remove her access to public housing. To mark #HateCrimeAwarenessWeek, Hackney members hung a huge banner at Marian Court. As a union, we’ll stand with Shahbana until she’s properly rehoused. Stay tuned for ways you can support!

We’re all deeply inspired by the way that Margaret and Shahbana have been standing up for their right to safe and decent housing. 

We all deserve to be warm this winter

– Last Friday, our Newham & Leytonstone branch visited the offices of a big housing provider to demand they provide our member Samira a home in which her family can keep warm. We’ll keep the pressure up on the landlord until they make big changes to Samira’s home or re-house her properly. We all deserve to be warm in our homes in the winter and as the weather gets colder.

We got their attention – Last month our Hackney branch held a protest outside Guiness Housing because they’ve failed to repair the heating and boiler at the home of one of our members for 20 years. Guinness Housing’s “Head of Heating and Hot Water” got in touch with our member just a few hours later!Now we’re keeping the pressure up to make sure they actually do the repairs.

Section 21 – As part of the End Unfair Evictions coalition, we joined a protest outside the Ministry of Housing to keep up the pressure on the Tories to keep their promise to abolish Section 21, the law that makes it so easy for landlords to evict us. You can still add your name to the campaign open letter, which has already been signed by 57,000 people!

Eviction prevention – Last month our Lewisham branch prevented our member C from being evicted. When we heard the estate agent was threatening to come around to attempt an illegal eviction, we made sure there were plenty of us at C’s home and the agent cancelled the eviction attempt. Because of our organising, C’s family was able to stay in their home long enough to find alternative accommodation.

Standing our ground – Our member E came reached out to the Lewisham branch for support with to the damp, mould and disrepair in their home. E was worried about standing up for themselves, fearing the backlash from their landlord. After chatting to other members and coming to a meeting, we planned how E could stand their ground. As a result, the landlord has made the urgent repairs. Our landlords and estate agents try and deny us our rights, assuming we’re too scared to stand up and push back. The union empowers us to face this exploitation, giving us the confidence to fight our battles, knowing an LRU flag flies behind us. If you or a friend or family member is facing disrepair issue, please get in touch with the LRU!

Coordinating group – The union’s coordinating group is made up of representatives of different branches and working groups of the union. Its role is to manage our staff and finances and to oversee the implementation of the union’s strategy. Thank you very much to all of the new members of the coordinating group and to all those now stepping down. You can read a full list of the members here and you can read the minutes from its September and October meetings here and here.

Comedy night – A massive thank you to all of the fantastic comedians who performed at our Rent-a-Laugh fundraiser at Rich Mix. We raised more than £1,100!

Calendar

Newham and Leytonstone Branch Meeting
November 7 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Old Manor Park Library, 835 Romford Road, Manor Park, E12 5JY

Lewisham Branch Meeting
November 12 @ 6:45 pm – 9:00 pm
St Mary’s Centre, St Mary’s Centre, Ladywell Road

Education working group meeting
November 14 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Discussing plans for 2020 trainings. 

London Renters Union: Campaigns Workshop
November 16 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Want to make sure housing is high on the political agenda at this election? Want to help win massive public support for radical rent controls? Then join us at LRU’s Campaigns Workshop! We’ll be talking tactics for moving politics to the left on housing, building local and national support for our renter manifesto & planning actions in our communities around the general election – and we don’t mean canvassing! We’ll also be talking next steps on campaigning for rent controls.

Hackney branch meeting
November 23 @ 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Round Chapel, 1D Glenarm Rd, London, E5 0LY E5 0LY

And finally…

We regret to have share the news that the Ethical Landlords Association has had to close down. Apparently this was partly because it “did not manage to attract a critical mass of members…”

Copyright © 2019 London Renters Union, All rights reserved.

You are a member of this email list because you are either a London Renters Union member or because you have given consent to being contacted by email at an event, training, street stall or when we knocked on your door.

Our mailing address is:

London Renters Union
Common House
London, London  E2 9QG
United Kingdom

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