Who We Are
Living Rent is Scotland’s tenants’ union. We are a democratic organisation run by and for our members.
We organise and represent our members in the private and social rented sector.
We fight for safe, secure and affordable housing for everyone. We are not affiliated to any political party.
Living Rent is a fully mutual Company Limited by Guarantee
Our company number is: SC505467
Our Registered Office is: 617, 12 South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1DD
Here is a copy of our Articles of Association
We are part of ACORN International
ACORN International is building a movement to take on the challenges facing poor and working-class people in developing economies and polities. We build community organizations in these countries to mobilize poor and working-class residents to fight for their rights and build democratic culture and institutions. Through local membership-based organizations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, ACORN International fights for the basic rights of people – better security, health, housing, education, and employment conditions, and more responsive, truly representative government.
On Est Ensemble - ACORN Cameroon
What We Do
Living Rent is a mass-membership organisation of low- and middle-income renters, fighting together to win concrete improvements to our daily lives and to put political and economic power back where it belongs – in the hands of ordinary people. In short, we are a union.
We believe in the collective power of people to come together to fight for their rights and to ensure that everyone has decent and affordable housing. In any town or city, we build the union from scratch, by people working, taking action, and winning together.
We’ve stopped evictions, won tens of thousands of pounds worth in repairs and compensations from landlords and letting agents as well as major improvements in the law. By building community power and challenging landlords collectively, we not only win for our members but we also fight for a housing and a political system that puts people before profit. We are not affiliated to any political party, but recognise the importance of influencing parties and politicians and holding them to account.
We are organised from the bottom up. We build branches - usually in a neighbourhood - where people organise to take action on local issues. Branch members elect their leadership, a committee who is accountable to local members and to the wider vision of the union. When there are enough local branches in a town or region, they form a city or regional forum to coordinate their campaigns and actions.
Branches work together on national campaigns, through the national forum. The National Committee, which is composed of tenants elected by the annual general meeting as well as co-opted members, is legally responsible for the organisation and ensures that the organisation respects its values, the strategic directions given by its members and that it has good governance.
How We Are Funded
As a union, we function through a dues model: our members support us and this means that we are accountable to members and put members' interests first. We feel very strongly about being democratic and member-run: your member dues keeps us working for you, our members. You can join here.
Trade unions have also supported our work by affiliating to Living Rent. We are grateful for such support and if you want to ask your union branch to affiliate, contact us!
We also seek external funding to support our activities and enable the growth of the union. So far we have received funding from:
- Nationwide Foundation
- Open Society Foundation
- Foundation Scotland
- People’s Health Trust
- Big Lottery
- Tudor Trust
- Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
- Glasgow Communities Fund
Every year, members elect the national committee during Living Rent's annual general meeting. These are the elected members of the National Committee in 2020/21:
- Gloria Dawson (Pollokshields, Glasgow): I act as the Treasurer and I am also involved in research, member defence and building my local branch of the union.
- GM Stevenson (Wyndford, Glasgow): I am involved with communications for the union, whilst fighting for better housing conditions and social housing in my neighbourhood.
- Maria Torres-Quevedo (Edinburgh South): I act as the Trade Union Officer and participate in the national communications team, alongside with the Edinburgh communications team.
- Rufus Bouverie (Edinburgh South): I support our national communications teams, alongside with the Edinburgh communications team and Edinburgh member defence team.
- Ellinore Folkesson (Knightswood, Glasgow): I act as the Chair of the union and have supported Living Rent having a voice by taking part in policy conferences and reviewing external research projects.
- David Hanson (Knightswood, Glasgow): I support our national communications teams, alongside with the Glasgow communications team and making videos for the union.
- Gordon Maloney (Leith, Edinburgh): I support the communications team and am active around national campaigns, notably our campaign for rent controls.
- Meg Bishop (Abbeyhill, Edinburgh): I act as the Secretary and coordinate the research team, looking at both internal research for the union's campaigns and liaising with external research projects.
We currently have a small number of staff who work alongside elected leaders to support the union's growth:
- Emma Saunders - National Organiser
- Jon Black - Operations Manager
- George Lavery - Glasgow Organiser - I support our members in Govanhill and Govan areas in Glasgow.
- Sinéad McNulty - Edinburgh Organiser - I support members to build branches, defend tenants & win campaigns in south Edinburgh and the local branch in Gorgie/Dalry. I also support branches in West Lothian and Aberdeen. If you are in these areas get in touch!
- Jack Hanington - Member Defence Coordinator - I work across all of the union's neighbourhood branches, building strong member defence teams who fight and win improvements to our members' housing. If you are struggling with a member defence issue, get in touch!
- Nick Durie - Glasgow Organiser - I organise drives in Partick-Scotstoun as well as Maryhill areas, and am helping to bring a focus to the union's work within social housing and among social housing tenants. I live in a housing scheme in Maryhill with my wife Ellenor and two children.
- Sonja Coquelin - Glasgow Organiser - I support members setting up neighbourhood branches in Pollokshields and Shawlands and building local member defence teams.
- James Roberts - Glasgow Organiser - I am running an organising drive in Knightswood and Castlemilk, where social tenants and their neighbours are taking action together to improve their housing and area. I am also reaching out to GHA tenants across the city to get a better standard of repairs throughout Glasgow.
- Elle Glenny - Edinburgh Organiser - I support members across North Edinburgh to build local branches, plan successful campaigns, and defend tenant rights. I currently organise the Leith and Muirhouse branches, in particular working with council tenants around improvements.