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‘Laying the Foundations’ – Digs officially launch!

Last week Digs held their launch event ‘Laying the Foundations’ at the CLR James library in Dalston.

We had a brilliant turnout including three local councillors, Phil Glanville, Saleem Siddiqui and Michael Jones, and MP for Shoreditch and South Hackney, Meg Hillier.

Loads of Hackney renters and housing activists turned out to share their ideas on how to take Digs forward.

After a rousing and occasionally hilarious speech from Journalist and Tenants Relations Officer Ben Reeve-Lewis, attendees broke into groups to discuss the main problems for Hackney renters and possible campaign solutions.

Meanwhile tenants shared their experiences of local letting agents and landlords, using the all new Digs ‘Rate your Landlord’ tool. Ratings have been flooding in so watch this space for the results on the best and the worst landlords in Hackney.

After a lively discussion about how to make life better for Hackney renters, attendees voted on the two campaigns they’d like to see Digs take forward. They were:

  1. Lobby the council to honour their duty to renters by providing the services their obliged to, including advice and tenants/ landlord mediation.
  1. Develop a tenants/landlord charter spelling out best practice.

Other actions discussed that Digs will explore are:

  • Campaign against extortionate letting agents fees
  • Continue research and needs assessment of Hackney renters
  • Build membership and consider forming as a Federation of Hackney renters
  • Continue creating education resources and rolling out training to private tenants

Before attendees left, we asked them to make one pledge to support the development of Digs. Some of the pledges made were:

  • Come to our next Digs meeting, 8th Nov, 19:00 at Cafe Z Stoke Newington High Street
  • Become a member of Digs (free and open to all Hackney renters)
  • Share your skills with Digs – whatever it is I’m sure we can find a use for it!
  • Deliver 100 flyers to help us recruit more private tenants
  • Give Digs an hour of your time.

If you’d like to make a pledge of support, please email digs@hackneyunites.org.uk

At the end, Digs member Rosie Walker filmed Hackney private tenants taking about their housing problems. These short films will be available soon!

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