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Activists want to build rent strike momentum across student sector

Activists are attempting to build rent strike momentum amongst students who rent property across the country.

‘Rent Strike” is a national network of student housing campaigns which, in its own words, “aim to create a space where we can share skills, tactics and advice on organising tenants on our campuses whilst also fighting for national change through collective and direct action.”

The Guardian newspaper calculates that there are at least 20 rent strikes currently under way or being organised on campuses, with activists signing up hundreds of students at Oxford and Cambridge colleges, Goldsmiths and the University of London, and Edinburgh.

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Some of the dispute surrounds students who have chosen or been advised to leave college accommodation early because of Coronavirus.

The Guardian claims that the largest rent strike in the country is at Bristol University, where more than 1,400 students have been demanding rent cuts, more support and no-penalty contract releases. 

This is despite Bristol University offering students a 30 per cent rent rebate for seven weeks to reflect the staggered return in 2021, along with penalty-free contract releases for students whose health has been impacted.

Rent Strike’s aggressively worded website claims: “For every landlord making money from rent, there is a tenant being ripped off. For every university charging sky-high rents, there are people being priced out of higher education.”

And it says its tactic of urging students simply to refuse to pay their rent “has been most recently used at UK universities by pissed off student tenants, who have won millions of £££ in rent cuts and compensation.”

The website - which even has a merchandise section, selling T-shirts up to £12.99 each - urges students to link up with more mainstream tenant organisations in the UK and abroad, with statements like “Tenants of the World Unite: Wider housing struggles and how students can support them.”

It urges readers to get together to highlight high rents, claiming “five students and a photocopier can do more damage to an institution than an army”; to organise meetings to talk about rent with releases for local newspapers; starting a petition against rents and - despite the Coronavirus restrictions now in force - suggesting “throw parties; figure out how to cook collective meals, hold protests, intimidate management and resist an eviction.”

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    Most students have guarantors. They will be left to carry the can and the students' credit ratings will be in ruins. Smart move.

  • jeremy clarke

    While they are about it perhaps these feckless people should try a mobile phone & pay to view TV strike? Do let us know how they get on with zero penalties and not paying Vodafone Netflix and Sky!

  • Roger  Mellie

    Students want to be careful they don't end up branding themselves as trouble makers. No one wants a trouble maker in their property.

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    Or their employment!

     
  • Kristjan Byfield

    Is this the same momentum that sees 2-3 protesters turn up outside agents offices? As per comments above most students have Guarantors who wont appreciate the fall out. Not to mention the impact on the students credit rating and bad references making their next rental moves near impossible. This is in the same reckless vein as the Xtinction Rebellion leader the other week telling people not to pay loans and mortgages. Stupid beyond belief- all to grab headlines but with a few naive people fooled in to doing what they say at their own cost for the foreseeable future.

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    If only we had the Australian system. Two weeks non-payment and out you go. No need for expensive courts or bailiffs.

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    Make sure they get the letter detailing that a CCJ coming is as definite as the sun rising in the east. Also say you will notify all letting agents and LL’s in a 100 mile radius about the tenants actions effectively a blacklist. We do this when necessary very effective. Renew the CCJ after six years until you get paid

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    .....And see a shortage of student accommodation follow; disastrous for future students.
    Message to the activists..... How about spreading a little love for Christmas :)

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    For every rent strike T shirt sold making money for rent strike, there is an idiot being ripped off. What a load this all is. Who is going to reduce the landlords outgoings to accommodate these reduced rents? Supermarkets and banks, will they charge the landlords less so that they can afford to reduce rents? Absolute rubbish, being encouraged by bored idiots with nothing better to do. They shouldn't be given any attention they will go away soon. Hopefully to be activists for a real and important cause not this rubbish.

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