ACORN has been winning more victories for tenants across the UK

An image of renters reform bill rental signs tenants
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Tenants from the ACORN renters union have been winning victories across the UK over the last few weeks. Union branches in Bristol and Brighton have reported successes. What’s more, campaigns are also underway in Cardiff and Birmingham.

ACORN organiser Nick Ballard tweeted:

Stop the bidding

In Bristol, ACORN picketed several branches of lettings agency CJ Hole. ACORN Bristol has been demanding that lettings agencies stop promoting ‘bidding wars’. Agencies have been encouraging prospective tenants to bid against each other, offering over the asking price to rent properties in the city. The branch has gathered 22 pledges from Bristol agencies not to engage in the practice.

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Campaigners reported that CJ Hole, Bristol’s biggest lettings agency, agreed to the union’s demands after ACORN members held demonstrations and stuck ‘wanted posters’ for CJ Hole founder Chris Hill on the windows of its agencies.

The Canary contacted CJ Hole for comment, but we didn’t receive a reply.

ACORN Bristol tweeted:

Forcing landlords to sort out disrepair

In Brighton, ACORN members occupied the town hall. They were calling on a local landlord to sort out the disrepair of a member’s home. As a result of the protest, the council reportedly issued the landlord with a fine. And this also led to the landlord finally setting a date for the much-needed repairs.

Campaigning for Public transport

In Birmingham, ACORN has been campaigning for better transport. The union is campaigning for more public control of buses in Birmingham. According to their online petition:

Profits are being put before people, and it’s high time that public transportation was run for the public good once again. We live in a region that runs on its buses, they are the lifeblood of the West Midlands and the vast numbers of our residents who rely on them. 30% of households have no access to a car and we deserve better!

Our members and communities across the West Midlands believe that through bus franchising we can achieve the best possible service through a publicly controlled network, run for the benefit of residents, not simply to maximise profits and dividends.

ACORN is calling on councillors and the mayor to join its campaign.

Not standing for theft of deposits

Meanwhile, in Cardiff, a campaign is underway to get back a union member’s deposit. ACORN Cardiff says that CPS Homes has stolen a deposit from Acorn member Becca.

The Canary contacted CPS Homes for a comment. A spokesperson for the agency said that Becca’s deposit had been handled by the government-authorised Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS), and DPS had handed them the deposit money.

However, ACORN Cardiff says that CPS Homes has a history of taking tenants’ deposits. The group has been leafleting outside CPS Homes branches, informing the public of the company’s practices.

Housing campaigner Penny Dinh, who attended a demo against CPS Homes, tweeted:

One thing’s for sure: tenants’ unions like ACORN are sorely needed right now. Landlords would walk all over us given half the chance, but when we organise collectively, we have real power.

Click here to learn more about ACORN and how to join the union. Take a look at Living Rent and London Renters Union websites too, to find out what’s going on in your area.

Featured image via Unsplash

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