Let Down renters in print

Yesterday, groups involved in the Let Down campaign had a letter published in the Evening Standard, coinciding with a motion by London Assembly member Darren Johnson in support of our campaign, and the recommendations of a report by the housing committee which called for action on high rents and real insecurity faced by renters across London and the rest of the country.

Unfortunately our letter was edited down and not all the names of the groups supporting the letter were published. But here’s the letter in full:

As members of a growing coalition of private tenants groups across the capital, we welcome the motion tabled today by London Assembly member Darren Johnson in support of our campaign for a better deal for London renters.

Unfortunately, we have seen little evidence that the Mayor will be following the advice of the London Assembly’s housing and regeneration committee’s recent report, which recommended action to stabilise spiralling rents in the capital and end retaliatory eviction. Better regulation of letting agents, a ban on discrimination against renters receiving housing benefit, and an end to extortionate fees charged to tenants (as already the case in Scotland) are also urgently required.

The private rented sector currently provides the poorest quality and least secure form of housing at the highest cost – including over £2bn a year to the public purse – yet is housing an increasing proportion of London’s population. Real reform is long overdue; the Mayor’s defence of business as usual is not an option.

Jacky Peacock OBE, Advice4Renters
Robert Taylor, Camden Federation of Private Tenants
Heather Kennedy, Digs – Hackney Renters
Christine Haigh, Lambeth Renters
Tom Gann, Southwark Tenants
Michael Chessum, University of London Union
Representatives of Haringey Housing Action Group, Islington Private Tenants and Tower Hamlets Renters

It follows a longer, more detailed letter we sent directly to Boris earlier this month, which you can view here.

To find out more about what the groups involved in the Let Down campaign are up to, check out their websites, or drop us a line at letdown.action@gmail.com.

Hackney renters take to the streets for real life Monopoly

On Saturday members of Hackney renters group Digs and their supporters gathered to challenge local letting agents for pushing up rents and generally making life miserable for local renters.Town Hall group

Gathering outside Hackney town hall, the group were introduced to a slimy letting agent (who you might recognise from our video…) who played host to a Monopoly game show where local renters were pitted against each other in an attempt to find somewhere affordable to live.

First stop of the day was Foxtons which, following criticism for hiring bouncers on our last day of action in April, took a less confrontational approach this time. One-by-one, players in the Monopoly game were knocked out because they were claiming housing benefit, didn’t earn enough to cover the sky-high rent, or couldn’t afford the extortionate fees.Foxtons quiz Roise boa

Next stop was Felicity J Lord, where at least one member of the group had experienced being ripped-off in real life. Participants in the protest played a game of ‘Chance’, highlighting what a lottery the private rental market is.

Chance renewalProf tenants only

The last stop was Homefinders, one of the many local letting agencies which refuse to let to people receiving housing benefit – despite the fact that many families can’t pay their rent without it. From there, the group headed to a nearby park to enjoy ice cream, send solidarity greetings to another housing action in south London, and start planning more action. Watch this space! Eviction solidarity hi res