Shoulder to Shoulder – what we’ve achieved together so far this year
Ahead of our second All Member Assembly tomorrow, here’s 14 of the things we’ve achieved together since our first one in June 2019.
1. Resisting evictions
Harassment and illegal evictions are on the rise. Through direct action and peer support, dozens of our members have resisted eviction.
We’ve trained hundreds of people to prevent and resist evictions – we’ll be ready when bailiff evictions restart
2. Shaping the debate
Right at the start of Covid, we were one of the first to put forward that renters needed an eviction ban & no rent payments. Bosses and landlords should pay for the crisis – not us.
Sadiq went on to echo some of our demands.
📣Suspension of all rent payments
🚨Emergency protections against eviction
Will you help us fight for these? Looking fwd to your reply pic.twitter.com/xOkiLqr0S2
— London Renters Union (@LDNRentersUnion) March 13, 2020
3. Can’t Pay Won’t Pay
In May we launched our campaign to bring together renters who had faced eviction & rent debt.
More than 4,000 people signed up, we held 3 consecutive days of action, and we grew our network of renters ready to fight alongside each other & resist evictions.
4. Doctors speak out
We worked on an open letter signed by @TheBMA, @Medact and other leading public health bodies to highlight how the Tories have been prioritising landlord profits over public health and ramp up the pressure on the Tories.
[BREAKING] Public health bodies call on @RobertJenrick to extend the eviction ban and protect renters
— Medact (@Medact) August 20, 2020
5. Winning important concessions
Alongside others, we forced the Tories into extending the the eviction ban twice and introducing a six-month notice period for evictions. That’s nowhere near enough but we’ve shown renters can win when we’re organised.
The government must not lift the evictions ban.
Here's our incredible organiser Ghazal explaining why on @BBCNewsnight last night. Grassroots campaigners like her are why the government is considering another U-turn.
— London Renters Union (@LDNRentersUnion) August 21, 2020
6. Putting tools in the hands of renters
We made more than 400 calls to members facing housing issues and more than 60,000 people downloaded our template letter to ask their landlord for a rent reduction.
Time and time again renters have gained the confidence to win large rent reductions, avoid arrears, and stay safely in their homes by being involved in the union and using our resources. Together we can stand up to landlords and agents!
7. Victory to the Helm House renters
Before joining LRU this summer, our members at Helm House had their safety concerns ignored by landlord Clarion for five years. They got organised and took action with the LRU, forcing Clarion to negotiate and start making repairs.
8. Fighting for warm homes
In Jan our member Samira led a second action at the offices of her landlord One Housing’s HQ over the cold, damp and mouldy conditions of her home over the last 10 years. After sustained pressure One Housing recently committed to the repairs needed.
9. Dorchester Court
90 LRU members at Dorchester Court in Lambeth have been standing up to their Sunday Times Rich List landlord, winning important concessions on rent arrears, tenancies and repairs.
On Friday we took the conversation to Daniel Cusack, Tracy Walker and Property Partners at their office in Waterloo.
They tear our posters down at Dorchester Court, but they won't meet with us.
— Dorchester Court Tenants’ Union (@court_union) July 6, 2020
10. Somerford Grove
Our members at Somerford Grove have been standing up to their billionaire landlord John Christodoulou over evictions and rent arrears.
When their landlord tried to make our members homeless, we took the fight to his hotel.
Today is the day the eviction ban lifted and the day our landlord @YianisCY wanted to make us homeless.
We came to his 5 star hotel to tell him:
— Somerford Grove Renters (@GroveRenters) September 21, 2020
11. Growing across the city
LRU members have started organising in Brent and Camden and in Tower Hamlets, where renters have launched a campaign against Rakesh Patel, a property tycoon who owns more HMOs in the borough than any other landlord.
OPEN LETTER: We are launching a public campaign against Rakesh Patel, a property tycoon in Tower Hamlets. He has been systematically exploiting hundreds of tenants, harassing and intimidating us, and stealing money from our deposits. We want it back. (1/10) pic.twitter.com/a1N1Vpeoz2
— Tower Hamlets LRU (@TowerHamletsLRU) October 20, 2020
12. Organising in different languages
Our new Spanish-speaking group had their first win this month – with a member getting repaid more than £500 of her deposit back with support of the group.
We’ve translated our rights info into 19 languages
13. Our membership has more than doubled!
Last year we got out the party poppers to celebrate reaching 1,700 members in eighteen months of organising. Just twelve months later and there more than 4,400 of us!
Hundreds of new LRU members have attended our Get Active training and got stuck in to our organising. It’s still early days in our path towards becoming a genuinely mass movement, but we’re so proud to be reaching more renters and increasing our collective strength.
14. Nurturing a community of care
Covid lockdown, job losses, inadequate government support, harassment by landlords, and the uncertainty of collective living arrangements have made 2020 a difficult year for so many of us. Aside from everything else, we’re proud that we’ve been able to be there for one another. Whether it’s been by offering legal advice, standing shoulder to shoulder outside letting agents, learning to organise together online, or just providing a phone-call to check-in, we’ve shown that we are a community based on solidarity and mutual care, and that we’ll do whatever it takes to support one another. We’ll enter 2021 with the same spirit.
JOIN THE LONDON RENTERS UNION
We’re a members-led, campaigning union and we’re taking action to make sure all Londoners have a decent, affordable and secure home. Join our community today and become part of the movement to transform the housing system.
Together we can keep each other safe during the pandemic
We’re now hiring a new branches organiser to grow the union, organise renters and win
Help shape our plans for 2021. Hear from LRU members and branches about our WINS over the past year. Get more involved in the London Renters Union community.