Since Digs launched in October 2012, we’ve seen new private tenants groups springing up all around us; the reality is that things are so bad for renters right now that people who have never been politically active are beginning to speak to stand up and say enough is enough…
Enough of rents rising far faster than wages and no sign of slowly down. Enough of landlords saying no to people on benefits because of the never-proven claim that they’re “more likely to wreck the property”. Enough of letting agents charging what ever they like, whenever they like.
This Saturday we held a workshop for renters as part of the Hackney Community Learning Festival. We had renters come from all across London interested in setting up renter groups in their own borough. Hopefully by this time next month, groups in Tower Hamlets, Islington and Southwark will be added to the growing list of London private tenants groups.
These groups should be encouraged to develop individually, to represent the needs and experiences of renters in their community. But we also need to work together, to coordinate our efforts to become a force that policymakers will finally be forced to listen to.
That’s why Digs, along with Brent Private Tenants Rights Group, Haringey Housing Action Group, Camden Federation of Private Tenants, Housing for the 99% and Lewisham Private Tenants have formed a Pan-London Coalition to campaign for the needs of London renters.
We’ve set up a facebook page to highlight what’s happening locally and regionally, and for renters to ask questions and share their stories: http://www.facebook.com/LondonPrivateTenantsCoallition?fref=ts
If you’re interested in setting up your own local renter group, please get in touch and we can have a chat and offer any support, advice and information resources we’ve found useful. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For or too long, politicians have put the needs of landlords above the needs of renters and on the whole renters have remained quiet.
We’re routinely told that if there is problems in the private rented sector, they’re tiny and isolated. Anyone who has rented for a number of years or spoken to other renters knows this is a myth. But with more and more renter groups become informed and organised, how long can this myth hold?