Friday, 26 May 2017

Tenants throw 'flat warming' protest in PRS apartment

A group of 15 private tenants from local tenant action groups have occupied a Genesis apartment in London.

From seven local tenant action groups across London, the 15 threw a ‘flat warming’ party to protest against ‘soaring private rents’ and ‘the government’s failue to tackle the problem’.

On the Let Down website, the group say that at the Stratford Halo development rents start from £1,700 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, which is the minimum space required for a family.

Emma Bradshaw, one of the activists, said on the website: ‘Private renting is expensive and gives people no security – the last thing we need is more of it… the government should bring in measures to keep rents under control and invest in good quality genuinely affordable social housing that gives ordinary people the security they need.

A spokesperson for Genesis said rents at the development start at £1,300 per month for a one-bedroom apartment reflecting ‘market rent properties’.

The group put posters up in the windows and banners outside, and left ‘peacefully’ after an hour, the spokesperson said.

They added: ‘The comments made by the group are inaccurate; it’s a shame they didn’t get in touch with us beforehand, so we could correct their misconceptions.

‘At any one time there are around 100,000 people living in a Genesis home, the overwhelming majority of which are social housing tenants – so we probably empathise with their aims more than most organisations.

‘The current chronic lack of housing is something that affects everyone, not just people looking for social or affordable homes. At Stratford Halo, there’s a combination of all types of housing to cater for a wide range of needs. This includes homes available for social rent and shared ownership; homes available for rent on the private market and housing for people with support and care needs.

‘Schemes like this – where we build more much needed social and affordable housing and raise revenue from the homes rented on a private basis - enable us to invest money into building even more housing. The same is true for any surplus we make.

‘The protest itself was small and relatively peaceful and when the group was asked to leave the premises, they did so quietly. While we don’t condone their practices, we are inviting them in for a meeting to discuss their concerns.’

To read more about the private rented sector click here.


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