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:
Another busy week!@ACORN_Bristol forced the biggest letting agent in the city to ban bidding wars🚫@ACORNCardiff out picketing an estate agents!@ACORN_Brighton secured much needed repairs for a member👊@AcornBirmingham out fighting for better buses! pic.twitter.com/mZN33fIhRF
— Nick Ballard (@_NickBallard) June 19, 2023
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:
We won! After visiting 5 CJ Hole branches across Bristol in our ACORN minibus and plastering the storefronts with our 'wanted' posters – they finally agreed to our demands!#acornbristol #BantheBids #rentalbidding pic.twitter.com/tYyKR36zKV
— ACORN Bristol (@ACORN_Bristol) June 13, 2023
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.
The council reviewed the case and agreed to begin the process of issuing a fine. This got Craig’s landlord to finally agree to set a date to begin repairs with Craig in situ. Total Victory!
— ACORN Brighton: Community Union (@ACORN_Brighton) June 12, 2023
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.
Housing campaigner Penny Dinh, who attended a demo against CPS Homes, tweeted:
Spending my lunch break with my comrades in .@ACORNCardiff in support of Becca, whose deposit was stolen by CPS after she was forced to move out due to a rent hike. We’ve also produced a leaflet with advice on your rights as tenants when it comes to deposit. Come say hello! pic.twitter.com/ynbWC3HR5u
— Penny Dinh (@penny_disco) June 16, 2023
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.Support us and go ad-free
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