Landlords felt the anger of residents as the fight for decent housing continues

Housing Rebellion staging a protest outside landlords offices over their demolition plans
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Residents have taken the fight for safe, secure, and affordable housing to the door of landlords in a new protest. They also demanded that these housing providers stop greenwashing their work. The response from the landlords was to call the cops.

As the Canary previously reported:

Housing Rebellion is a new offshoot of Extinction Rebellion (XR). The group exists to highlight the fact that many of the anti-tenant policies that landlords get away with are also having an enormous impact on the environment.

Time for a housing rebellion

On Tuesday 14 March, Housing Rebellion (HR), residents, and other groups like the Radical Housing Network, protested at various landlords‘ offices:

The demos were over landlords’ plans to demolish properties, as well as their broader building policies. Housing Rebellion is opposed to knocking down homes. For example, it says that the demolition of social homes is:

displacing communities and leading to the waste of huge amounts of embodied carbon.

The group and its supporters tried to get landlords to answer some questions about their demolition and building plans. These included:

Does this company create housing which is unaffordable to the majority of people? leading to even greater waste of resources by selling to speculators and wealthy elites who use them as second homes, luxury holiday lets, or even leave them empty as a store of wealth.

Predictably, many landlords didn’t respond. In fact, HR said Savills, Peabody and Lendlease called the cops to throw them and the protesting residents out:

Residents protest outside a landlords office over housing while police watch in the background

Capitalising on a crisis

Georgina Schueller is from Lambeth. She went to Savills’ offices to protest. In Lambeth, Housing Rebellion claims that Savills is currently surveying all the council properties in the borough. It also says the company has been directly involved in the demolition and regeneration plans for six estates there. Schueller said in a press release:

Savills is a global real estate company that helps to devise government housing policy. Then it gets involved implementing policies at local council level. They’re capitalising on the housing crisis, extracting long term asset values from what they call “dysfunctional” housing estates.

The group says that ultimately, Savills want to get rid of working class communities to push the value of property even higher. Georgina quoted a Savills report that said:

the socio-economic range of households on estates raises property values as it reduces the Index of Mass Deprivation.

In other words, landlords want to get rid of poor people from estates:

A woman speaking at a housing protest

Grace, from Radical Housing Network, said:

It’s hardly surprising [landlords] don’t want to talk to us, because they have no justification for what they are doing except greed and profit.

The Heygate estate, which is now Elephant Park, is a warning to everyone about what regeneration leads to. The cheapest one bed flat there now is over £700,000 and all the environmental commitments turned out to be just greenwash lies and were converted to carbon offset payments.

Landlords’ ‘hypocrisy’

Another resident, Yasmin, also pinned some responsibility on local authorities. She said:

Southwark council needs to answer for their hypocrisy selling to all those millionaire traders and developers. That is criminal they have knocked down flats when there was nothing wrong with them.

The housing crisis in the UK is partly down to government policy. However, it’s also down to greedy landlords who don’t care about their residents – only turning a profit. So, Housing Rebellion aims to take them on – and it will be interesting to see what the group’s next move is.

Featured image and additional images via Housing Rebellion

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