As courts re-open, Britain’s renters must confront the power of landlords

18 August 2020 — Open Democracy

“Alas, many middle class people are now invested in this relationship of domination.”

London Renters Union twitter.

There was a moment, just after the declaration of lockdown, with the immediate loss of jobs and hours, when it seemed that a rent strike might be inevitable. Many members of London Renters Union thought there might finally be a moment of unity between renters affected by the pandemic that could be leveraged into much greater power against landlords. When evictions were temporarily suspended some members grew even more excited: for once private renters did not have the sword of Damocles hanging over them. This was the moment to strike! Others had a similar idea and Rent Strike London was launched, pulling ahead of London Renters Union, necessarily slower-moving as a large democratic organisation. For a week or two it felt like we might get the biggest rent strike going in British history.