This Monday, 27th January 2014, we had a small demonstration outside Shian Housing Association in Hackney.
We are demanding that they replace totally inefficient electric boilers with something that works well for a three bedroom property or a larger property.
One member of the Haringey Housing Action Group told the group that for the last three years she has been having to heat her home with the NIBE Fighter 360p electric boiler, installed by her landlords Shian. The boiler does not heat her home sufficiently, nor provide enough hot water, and yet her bills are running at about £5 or £10 a day. Her house is in a new building, and one would expect it to be efficient and cheaper to heat.
We looked at the boiler up on the internet and found out that many other complaints have been made about this boiler, and some housing associations have replaced them and compensated their tenants. We also talked to other families living in the block, and found they too had similar experiences. Meanwhile Shian are blaming the tenants’ use of the boiler!!
A number of the tenants have written to Shian to demand they take action. Meanwhile they are suffering yet another winter in a poorly heated home.
At the demonstration Shian refused to talk to us to explain how they would proceed with our member’s situation. However, a member of their staff acknowledged that the problem of high heating bills was a problem made worse by the boiler. She said that previous communication shouldn’t have pointed the finger at tenants and their individual energy use.
This is only the start of our actions. We will keep up the pressure. Watch this space for news of our progress.
If you are a tenant, your landlord has certain obligations. The rules and procedures vary depending on the type of tenancy you have but certain basic rules are always the same.
It’s important to remember that if you have a licence rather than a tenancy, you may not have all of these rights. Use our tenancy checker to check this and use our advice services directory to find an adviser in your area if you’re still not sure.
Landlord has a responsibility not to disturb tenants
Landlords may need access to the accommodation to inspect it and do repairs but they must let you live in your home without unnecessary interference. If you are a tenant then your landlord can’t come in whenever they feel like it, and should give proper notice and arrange a suitable time if they need to visit.
The amount of notice they have to give might be set out in your agreement. If you have a licence, your right to restrict your landlord from coming in is more limited, so get advice before you do anything.
You can ask your landlord to stop entering your home without your permission. It may be classed as harassment if the landlord persists. Read the rest of this post »
16 November 2013 View leaflet 2013
15 private tenants from 7 local tenant action groups across London today are holding a ‘housewarming party’ at a development of newly built private rented flats in Stratford, east London, in protest at soaring private rents and the government’s failure to tackle the problem. London rents have been rising at around 7 per cent per year.  10 other activists organised a solidarity banner protest outside the Genesis tower block.
The flats are built and let by Genesis , which has been shortlisted to receive funding through a government subsidy scheme  for private rented housing in three developments in London .
Rents in the occupied development, marketed as ‘Stratford Halo’, start from £1,700pcm for a two bedroom flat, the minimum size needed for a family with children – of which there are now more than 1.3 million renting from private landlords in England . Based on figures published by Shelter, these rents would only be affordable to families with an income of £76,000 or more .
Emma Bradshaw, one of the activists, said:
“Private renting is expensive and gives people no security – the last thing we need is more of it. Rather than supporting developers to build expensive private rented housing that is only affordable to the very wealthiest, the government should bring in measures to keep rents under control and invest in good quality genuinely affordable social housing that gives ordinary people the security they need.”
In total, £1bn is being made available to developers to build new private rented properties as subsidised finance at an estimated minimum cost to the public purse of £90m.  The government claims that the first £700m of the funding “has the potential to deliver between 8,000 and 10,000 new homes”. 
If the £1bn was used to build social housing on publicly owned land, around 10,000 new homes could be built , with money recovered through the rents. This would also help to reduce the housing benefit bill, 40 per cent of which now goes to private landlords as one in four private tenants currently needs housing benefit to afford their rent. 
For further information, images, footage and interviews, please contact 0790 7058241 or email@example.com
This protest was organised and supported by the following private tenants groups:
Advice 4 Renters (Brent) - Camden Federation of Private Tenants - Digs Hackney Renters) - Haringey Private Tenants Action Group - Lambeth Renters - Southwark Private Tenants - Tower Hamlets Renters
All groups are also members of London Renters, the coalition of Private Tenants Groups
The London Renters network aims to share resources for taking action on private tenants issues; support people to set up new private tenants groups in their borough and campaign together against developers, landlords, letting agents, government or anyone profiting from or exploiting our basic need for housing. Contactlondonrenters@riseup.net for more information and to sign up for regular announcements.
1. Figures published by LSL Property Services found that London rents rose 7.9 per cent in the year to March 2013 – eight times faster than wages.
2. According to its 2012-13 financial statements, “Genesis aims to be a leading property based service provider”, providing housing for sale and rent (at both social and market rents). The company had a turnover of £293m and made £36.7m from sales of property in the year to March 2013. It also received £34.3m in grants. In ten years time (2022-23) the company is projecting an operating surplus of £73m.
3. The Built to Rent fund provides subsidised finance (through loans or equity) to private developers for privately rented homes which will be let at market rents. £1bn is being made available through the scheme, with 43 companies with a total of 45 bids currently being assessed for the first £700m of finance – an average of £15.6m per project.
4. A Freedom of Information request to the Greater London Authority, which is assessing the bids for Build to Rent funding in London, reveals that the following three Genesis developments have been shortlisted to received funding through the Build to Rent fund:
- New Hendon Village, Colindale (zone 4), London Borough of Barnet
- Madeley Road, North Ealing (zone 3), London Borough of Ealing
- Springboard House, Upton Park (zone 3), London Borough of Newham
A total of 15 London developments from 12 developers have been shortlisted to receive funding through the scheme.
5. The English Housing Survey 2011-12 finds there 1,306,000 households with dependent children renting privately.
6. Shelter’s Private Rent Watch studies are based on rents being affordable if they take up no more than 35 per cent of net income. At a rent of £1,700 per month, the cheapest two bedroom flats in the Stratford Halo development would only be affordable to households with a monthly net income of £4,857, or £58,286 per year. This equates to a gross income of around £76,000 per year (assuming two earners with equal salaries, claiming child benefit for one child and having no other income).
7. Calculation based on funding provided through loans to developers with A-AAA credit ratings and normal collateralisation for a ten year period, with annual interest payments and the principle repaid at the end of the period. At current interest rates, developers will pay 1.74 per cent interest (source), yet the government pays 2.66 per cent (source). The minimum cost to the government of the loans (excluding operating costs for the scheme) is £92m (lending money at 0.92 per cent below their cost of borrowing £1bn over the ten year period). The effective subsidy to the developers is estimated at around double this figure, as the developers are able to benefit from access to loans at a considerably lower rate via the government than they would be to access themselves directly on the market.
8. Source: DCLG
9. Based on building costs (excluding land) of £100,000 per home (source: New Economics Foundation)
10. Source: English Housing Survey
November 16, 2013 Tags: bring rents down, haringey housing action, haringey private tenants, let down campaign, let down renters, london private tenants, london renters, luxury development protest stratford, renters occupation london, stratford renters protest Posted in: NEWS, PRIVATE TENANTS Comments Closed
The Our Tottenham network were invited to be interviewed live on BBC radio London this morning, Tuesday 7.45am.
Haringey Housing Action Group are supporters of the ‘Our Tottenham’ network and together campaign for genuinely affordable housing in all new developments and regeneration plans in Tottenham.
Listen to the interview here
BBC Radio London OT Interview 24.9.2013
Visit the ‘Our Tottenham’ website here
The interview request was in response to Tottenham Hotspurs announcing that they plan to build a University Technical College ‘on top of’ the new Sainsbury’s by the Spurs ground. The BBC wanted someone from the OT network to talk about the wider regeneration issues and concerns.
Whilst not against the expansion of the Spurs ground itself, we’re concerned about 3 things
- the trend towards massive development projects within residential areas, rather than improvements to existing human scale streets and facilities
- the shocking threat to demolish hundreds of perfectly good homes and shops to the west of the ground
- that what local communities throughout Tottenham really need is genuinely affordable housing rather than gentrification
We put these points during negotiations with the Spurs Chief Executive and called on the club to put £100m into the local community for the improvements which local people actually need.
Haringey Private Tenants Action Group Meeting
Tuesday 24th September, 6.30pm
Cafe Life, North London Community Centre, 22 Moorfield Road behind Bruce Grove Station, N17 6PY
See leaflet here, please forward….. all welcome.
Having problems with your landlord? Can’t afford your rent? Sick of moving every six months? Fed up with the current housing situation? There is a different way..
Come and join other private tenants to get organised, share experiences, take collective action to solve problems, and campaign for better housing for us all…. we are all entitled to decent, secure and genuinely affordable housing in our local area. Landlords are increasing rents to unaffordable levels, discriminating against people on housing benefit – and private tenants are left vulnerable to exploitation. Housing is a fundamental right. There are over 25,000 private tenants in Haringey – let’s get together and take action to support tenants and challenge landlords, letting agents, developers and anyone else who is trying to exploit us. Unless we take action together, our voices will remain unheard and our situation will remain precarious.
Shelter recently estimated that up to two thirds of landlords are mortgage free, so they actually only require enough funds from tenants to cover costs for maintenance, and many mortgage providers state that there is no restriction for how long a tenant can stay – But, mortgage or no mortgage, there is no reason why landlords should be charging unaffordable rents and providing insecure tenancies causing stress and financial problems for so many tenants….so rents need to be forced down – Rent caps are one solution.
Also, the Advertising Standards Authority has just brought in a requirement that all landlord and letting agents must, by the 1st November, state clearly all extra fees charged to tenants, rather than trapping people who are desperate for housing.
Support one another Join together with other private tenants to support one another, share experiences, solve problems and take action collectively.
Challenge landlords We need to take back control of our lives and demand the right to affordable and secure housing. Housing is a necessity, and no one should be discriminated against for being low waged or be on housing benefit. If you can’t afford your rent the landlord is charging too much - We can campaign to put that message out. We could make sure we name and shame all landlords and letting agents who discriminate and charge unaffordable rents. We can help to empower tenants to try to negotiate with their landlord over rents. Landlords can be persuaded to keep a reliable, known tenant on a lower rent, rather than have to go through a costly and inconvenient process of finding a new tenant.
Haringey Private Tenants Action Group is meeting monthly to support one another with renting problems, discuss taking action to improve housing for us all and improve the rights of private tenants in Haringey. Email for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org, or come to our next meeting.
September 20, 2013 Tags: coalition of private tenants groups, haringey housing, haringey private tenants, haringey private tenants action group, haringey renters group, haringey tenants, London coalition of private tenants groups, london renters, private tenants action group Posted in: NEWS, PRIVATE TENANTS Comments Closed