Category Archives: Uncategorized

Housing & Community Groups Demand Southwark Council Reconsider Attendance at MIPIM Property Fair

Dear Peter John,

We were extremely concerned to discover that the London Borough of Southwark will be attending the MIPIM property fair at Olympia, London from 15 to 17 October. As you will know, given your attendance at MIPIM in 2013, which was paid for by Lend Lease, the developers of the Heygate site, MIPIM has been held every year in Cannes in France and is to take place for the first time in Britain this October. Alongside Southwark Council, MIPIM will be attended by developers, lawyers, banks and investors.

Since the MIPIM website says that it is ‘the first UK property trade show gathering all professionals looking to close deals on the UK property market’, we were wondering why Southwark Council would go and what kind of ‘deals’ will the council be seeking to strike and how will these deals benefit tenants and local council residents?

In consideration of the harm the deals struck at MIPIM are likely to do to local residents, Hammersmith and Fulham, the host borough, has, following the defeat of local Conservatives and Labour taking control of the council, pulled out of the fair and is attempting to recoup its stall costs. The Tower Hamlets Council Assembly last week resolved not to attend MIPIM and condemned the profit-driven housing policy that it represents and furthers.

As well as their role in pushing up rents for private tenants and destroying council housing, the attending developers have a shocking record of affordable housing provision, reflected in the workshop title “Affordable Housing: Is it Worth It?”

As members of a number of groups from across the borough and from various housing tenures who are concerned with housing and the effects of ‘regeneration’ which has, to date, failed to provide any benefits whatsoever to residents and areas being ‘regenerated’ we call on you and the London Borough of Southwark to reconsider your attendance at MIPIM and show that you are fully committed to a housing policy in the interest of local people and NOT those of private profits.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,

Southwark Tenants
People’s Republic of Southwark
Southwark Notes
Elephant Amenity Network

Southwark Defend Council Housing

London Renters Groups extremely disappointed by Wandsworth’s Use of Community Benefit Clause to build Homes for Private Rent

We are extremely disappointed by Wandsworth Council’s decision to use a planning provision that should be used in the interest of the local community, for example by providing social or other genuinely affordable housing or facilities, to encourage a developer to build more expensive privately rented housing. We are also concerned that other councils in London may seek to repeat this.

Wandsworth Council have used a Section 106 agreement, which is supposed to ensure that private developments do not run counter to community’s interest by making developers to contribute to offset negative impacts of development. London Renters believes that the developer, Bellway’s, building of 114 units of privately rented housing at market rents is not of benefit to the community. Wandsworth Council believe that attracting more “young, upwardly mobile singles and couples” to the borough represents a community benefit, this parallels statements by other London councils seeking to attract a “better class of tenant” to their borough. We do not believe the social cleansing of the old, poor and children is of benefit to communities in London.

As renters in London, we know that for tenants private renting is highly exploitative and very rarely meets our needs- indeed research conducted by Shelter shows that only 6% of renters would stay in the PRS given the choice. We do not believe that local or central government should be encouraging the building of more of these homes.

Activists occupy Department of Communities and Local Government in protest at evictions

Housing campaigners from London Renters today occupied the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in protest at evictions and insecurity of tenure. The campaigners bedded down in sleeping bags in the department’s lobby to highlight how being evicted by a private landlord has become the leading cause of homelessness. [1]

The protest follows reports of a workshop held by DCLG about ways of making it easier for landlords to evict tenants. [2] The campaigners want secure tenancies for all tenants, and in particular an end to ‘no fault’ evictions. [3]

Members of the groups behind the protest have themselves been evicted for asking for repairs to be done or joining a local tenants’ campaign. Recent research by Shelter found that 1 in 33 renters had been a victim of retaliatory eviction, and one in eight were so fearful of it that they did not ask for repairs to be done.[4]

Emma Bradshaw, one of the activists, said: “It is already easier to evict a tenant in the UK than it is in any other European country and it is disgraceful that the government are thinking about making it even easier.Landlords ending private tenancies are now the main cause of homelessness and the number of evictions has been soaring since 2010 [5]. Instead of making it easier for landlords to evict tenants, we need secure tenancies to reduce homelessness and allow people to build lives in their communities without fear.”

As part of a consultation on property conditions in the private rented sector, there has been a proposal to prevent landlords evicting tenants where they have complained about serious disrepairs. [6] However, this would still leave tenants at risk of eviction for things like being involved in private tenants groups or questioning a rent increase. There is also no guarantee that this proposal will be implemented.

Raymond Ambler from London Renters said: “While we would welcome restrictions on the ability of landlords to issue section 21 possession notices where a property is in disrepair or needs improvements, we consider that alone this is not adequate to address the wider problem of insecurity of tenure in the private rented sector. For example, tenants also fear evictions for joining or being seen to be involved in private tenants groups or other housing campaigns, questioning rent increases or asking permission to make changes to their home or living arrangements like hanging pictures or keeping a pet. We consider that section 21 should be removed entirely, and private tenants should have the same rights and security as social tenants with secure tenancies.

“In the case of preventing retaliatory eviction in response to a tenant’s request for repairs, we consider that the restriction on the use of section 21 possession notices should cover any complaint about property conditions, not just where serious disrepair or the need for major improvements is found.”

For more information, interviews and images, contact letdown.action@gmail.com

Notes to editors

  1. The end of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST – the standard private tenancy) was the single greatest cause of homelessness in 2013, accounting for one in four cases, up from one in nine cases in 2009.Source:https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homelessness-statistics
  2. Source: http://blogs.channel4.com/cathy-newman-blog/government-plans-evictions-easier-leaves-tenants-fearful/489
  3. Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 enables landlords to evict tenants without any reason with two months notice after the initial term of an assured shorthold tenancy. For more information, seehttp://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/eviction/eviction_of_private_tenants/eviction_of_assured_shorthold_tenants
  4. Source:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/283979/Review_of_Property_Conditions_in_the_Private_Rented_Sector__2_.pdf
  5. Source: http://www.crisis.org.uk/news.php/495/private-tenants-see-eviction-orders-soar
  6. See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-property-conditions-in-the-private-rented-sector