Wendy Charlton, Camden and Haringey Socialist Party
On 9 April, the Social Housing Action Campaign (Shac) protested outside the government Department for Levelling Up.
For Peabody tenant Terry, rent on her estate is going up by 5.9%. “Some of us have taken Peabody to the tribunal and won, because the landlord has in effect bumped up the market rent to much higher than even the really expensive properties in our area.”
Molly, a Notting Hill Genesis tenant, spoke about the reasons for her service charge strike. “We should only be paying for fire safety. Instead, we are being charged for bulk-waste removal, graffiti, pests, fire-risk assessments and many other things. Our 2022-23 proposed service charge for three small flats has increased by £700 a year.”
In a recent Shac survey, 85% of respondents said they will experience a negative financial impact and be forced to cut back on essentials when rents increase this month. In contrast, housing associations managed to increase their surpluses.
Somaya, from Acorn housing campaign, commented on coordinated campaigning. “It’s really important that we don’t divide ourselves, and that we recognise that our interests are the same, regardless of who we are paying and the type of rent that we have.”
Truus, a One Housing tenant, told us about her 60% increase. She has demanded her landlord explain how they justify this. She advised “uniting on many fronts, join Shac, go on strike, and know that you are not the only one.”