How we workWe're building a democratic, members-led union that takes action. We support each other and we work to transform the housing system.
Branches are the key unit of the union. Branches carry out union organising and campaigning in a particular London borough or area. Each branch has regular meetings where we support each other with the housing problems we face and plan actions and campaigns. Getting involved in your branch or helping to set one up is a great way to help build the London Renters Union and meet other members.
As of June 2018, we’re in the process of building branches in Newham & Leytonstone, Lewisham and Hackney. Don’t worry if you don’t live in one of these areas. You can still join the union and there are plenty of events and actions for you to take part in. We hold regular meetings for members who don’t live in an area where we currently have a branch – take a look at our calendar to find out what we’ve got planned. We support each other to set up new branches across the city.
Meetings, events and socials
As well as regular branch meetings, we also organise regular events about specific topics or things that the union is working on collectively. For example, if we’re organising a protest or action, we might organise a specific meeting to plan it and make banners and placards together. We also organise regular social events. Luckily, there are some amazing cooks in the London Renters Union!
As the union grows, we want to organise campaigns on specific issues in different parts of London, as well as London-wide campaigns. Our campaigning priorities will be decided by our membership.
We organise creative protest actions that help individual members with housing problems and pressure those in power to make decisions in the interests of renters. We can organise a range of different actions, from protests calling out estate agents mistreating their tenants, to flash mobs at government ministries.
As members of the London Renters Union, we support each other with the housing problems we face, whether it’s rent being too high or being put up, a landlord that refuses to make repairs, or whether we’re facing eviction. We provide emotional and practical support to each other, and help each other to stand up to landlords or estate agents, whether that’s by writing letters or organising a protest at their offices.
Door knocking and street outreach
Nothing beats a face to face conversation. We regularly organise street stalls and door knocking sessions, where we spread the word about the London Renters Union and listen to people describe the housing problems they face.
We hold regular trainings and skill sharing days so we can all gain the knowledge and skills we need to organise effectively. Topics covered include organising skills, housing rights and door knocking training.
Every year we plan hold at least one all-member assembly, which is the highest decision making body of the union, and is an opportunity for us to learn from each other’s experiences and celebrate and build our community. We will also hold regular member forums where we come together to discuss, make plans and hang out.
The work of the union is supported by a number of working groups that any member can join.
- Outreach – reaching as many people and organisations as we can and developing branches.
- Member support – developing resources so we can get better at supporting each other to stand up to landlords and estate agents.
- Communications – making printed materials and managing our website and social media.
- Finance – managing our money and budgets.
- Fundraising – writing funding applications, running fundraisers.
- Process & structure – developing the union’s structures and ways we work together.
Consensus decision making
We aim to make all decisions in meetings and at assemblies by consensus. That means that all members should be okay with the decision we are making. If it isn’t possible to reach consensus and the decision is urgent, a vote might be taken. A decision can only be made by vote if two thirds of the people present agree with it.
The coordinating group is made up of two representatives of each of our branches and working groups and three members directly elected by the whole membership. Its role is to support development of new branches, manage staff, uphold the values of the union, implement the decisions of all member assemblies and make decisions in between those assemblies. All members of the union can make requests to the coordinating group and read the minutes of the meetings.
The London Renters Union is legally incorporated as a non-profit company limited by guarantee, with a constitution that establishes the union as a co-operative consortia. This means that the union is a non-profit co-operative company that is owned jointly and equally by its members. The union is governed by a constitution and by a set of additional rules for how we work together. This web page is a summary of the most important things in those two documents.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns about anything on this page, please do get in touch by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Calling all renters: let us know how Covid has impacted your housing situation
Lewisham Branch is hosting a discussion
A training day for new members of the London Renters Union