London Student Tenants Union initiative set to launch

For more info, email [email protected]

The next planning meeting will take place on Monday 11th February at 6pm in ULU.

On Thursday 31st January, the University of London Union hosted the first planning meeting for a tenants union of students in London. The meeting was productive and came up with a set of decisions. NCAFC is fully supporting the initiative, and we’d encourage activists in London to get involved.

The union is necessary because housing is a crisis for everyone in London, and students would be a good place to start the work of organising. We pay astronomical sums of money – more than our loans – for poor quality housing. Meanwhile, universities and colleges are making profits in their Halls at our expense, and private providers are raking it in.

We need to move beyond the present state of affairs, in which everyone says that high rents are bad. The crisis in housing is happening partly because we’re not organised enough. And it’s about time that we got organised – because our landlords and bosses certainly are! The new organisation will exist not just to complain, but to share information on bad landlords and agencies, and to collectively bargain as a union.

We are going to launch the new tenants union over the next 2 weeks, and host a mass meeting in mid-March, open to everyone, which can properly decide on a structure and a name. In the meantime, we’ll be building a website, which will provide advice to tenants in difficult situations; allow people to join the union and keep in touch; and to report dodgy agencies and landlords anonymously.

We’ll also be running a video competition for the Worst Student Accommodation in London Award. We can help you with filming – so get in touch if your overpriced flat is falling to pieces and your landlord/agency is behaving badly.

After a discussion, we felt that the best way to go about recruitment would be to unionise the Halls of Residence residents before they go out into the private sector next year, thereby giving the new union a large membership across the city. So this is what we are now doing!

This initiative is absolutely not limited to University of London colleges: although it is being initiated by ULU, activists and students from other campuses (and none!) in the city are encouraged to attend meetings and get involved.  Neither is this project limited to students: eventually, we want a union for everyone.

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