Precarity is increasingly the order of the day with the amount of private rentals increasing phenomenonally within the last ten years. The UK has some of the worst legislation on renting in Europe and is increasingly attempting to transfer “market discipline” into the social housing sector with council rents being increased to 80% of market rates. I myself have had problems with several landlords for example being told I had a month’s notice to leave and discovering that since I paid the rent weekly this was perfectly legal.
It is not a great surprise to me that many landlords would not rent to tenants of different ethnicities and would ask the estate agents not to do this. In fact I wonder why this “shocking” fact hasn’t come to light before? Some companies ask prospective applicants to send photographs of themselves along with their CV despite the fact this is supposed to be illegal and in France racism is such a huge problem that people are forced to make their CVs anonymous or post them from a different address than where they actually live if they live in what’s supposed to be an “Arab” area. It is not a surprise that discrimination is rife in the housing sector as well.
Some months ago I posted Johnny Void’s article about the “tenant blacklist” and the website advertising the services of background and lifestyle checks for tenants, which by the use of the sort of dehumanising language which would be more suited to 1930s Germany rather than honest hard working taxpayers like they portray themselves as, highlighted the potential for this sort of shit to go on.
Private tenants definitely need our own organisations like a “union” for tenants of some sort (although obviously nothing like trade unions today) but the nature of the beast means that it is very unlikely to be able to organise everyone in area to organise against landlords. Does anyone have any better ideas? I don’t quite know whether I’m putting this in the right way but there’s got to be something better out there rather than charities like shelter and so on, something we’ve organised ourselves. How to do it tho is another matter. Anyone?