A mailing list operated by the left wing activists’ group Momentum has been used to win support for a rent strike campaign and to get tenants on to “eviction resistance training.”
The London Renters Union launched its Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! campaign over the weekend, and used the mailing list of the Labour-backing Momentum group to help gather support.
The union says in a statement: “Renters have already begun pledging to withhold enough of their rent to meet their other basic needs, like food. Others will also be able to join the campaign in solidarity, including by signing up for eviction resistance training.”
It continues: “Over 11,000 LRU members and supporters have been invited to join, as have all those on the mailing list of Momentum, who are backing the campaign. Those who sign up will be invited to renter solidarity meetings where they’ll be given information about their rights and the risks of withholding rent, and advice on how to tell their landlord that they will be withholding rent.”
The union has already asking the government to suspend rent payments in the private sector for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis, make the current evictions ban permanent, cancel all rent debt, introduce rent controls and end Right To Rent migration status checks in the housing system.
Amina Gichinga, an organiser with the LRU, says: “We’re encouraging renters to keep enough of their rent so they can prioritise food and other essentials. This is so renters can stay safe and to pressure the government to protect renters from rent debt and eviction.
“We’re bringing together those already in rent debt so they have a voice and we’re training renters on how to prevent and resist evictions in case the government continues to fail us.”
Gichinga claims many Londoners normally spend 60 or 70 per cent of their income of rent and already don’t have enough for the basics “so there’s no way renters can afford to repay missed payments.”