Living Rent Union Members Protest Bogus Rent Consultation
Living Rent members of one Glasgow housing association in Whiteinch have dropped banners from their flats in protest at a bogus rent consultation offering residents a minimum rent increase of 3.5%. This follows on from a successful banner drop by union members in Partick in October last year.
Tenants at 98 Northinch Street – who have seen their rise by 55% over ten years – dropped banners from their block ‘demanding we need a living rent.’ The action is in direct response to a rent consultation sent out by the landlord Whiteinch and Scotstoun Housing Association offering residents the insulting ‘choice’ of agreeing to either a 3.5 up to a 5% rent increase in 2018. The action follows on from consistent campaigning in Whiteinch over high rents, charges, closure of vital facilities and victimisation of local activists.
Living Rent members in Whiteinch are encouraging all residents to complete their rent consultation forms stating their opposition to any increases. The documents should be returned to the WSHA Housing Office before the closing date on Tuesday 23 January. After years of bogus ‘consultations’ which ignore the real voice of tenants, we are urging everyone to make themselves heard this time round.
The action in Whiteinch further highlights worrying trends affecting the whole city. Last year saw rents in Glasgow reach record highs, with the average cost of a 2-bedroom flat now equivalent to 81% of the earnings of a young worker employed full-time on the minimum wage. We are seeing annual rent increases of at least 3% becoming the norm across both the private and social-rented sectors. Living Rent condemns these spiralling costs as completely unsustainable for tens of thousands of tenants already under pressure from austerity, cuts to housing benefit and wage freezes.
As a grassroots union, Living Rent is already winning victories in the fight for city-wide rent controls. In November 2017, we successfully forced a reduction in rent for union members in Partick Housing Association. This was won through the dedication and fighting spirit of local residents joining Living Rent – proving that collective action gets results. We will be fully supporting our members in Whiteinch in their campaign to prevent any rent increases this year, with further actions planned should the increases be forced through against the wishes of tenants in the area.
We have received reports and gained new members from housing associations across the city looking to launch similar campaigns. If you are facing a rent increase this year and wish to challenge it, please do not hesitate to join the union at www.livingrent.org/join or contacts us at firstname.lastname@example.org
No rent increases in 2018! Enough is enough!