A group campaigning to radically improve tenants’ rights is inviting people to join an open meeting in Brixton next week.
Lambeth Renters are addressing difficulties faced by private tenants in the borough, including high rents, poor quality housing and tenancies with little to no security.
They recently turned down an offer to meet Lambeth MP Chuka Umunna, citing his stance on housing issues, particularly squatting, as the reason for the refusal.
In a letter to Umunna, they said: “With a massive shortage of social housing, no chance of buying a house, soaring private sector rents and now the criminalisation of rough sleeping, squatting is not such an unthinkable thing to do but fast becoming the last housing option for an increasing number of people.”
Rather than distancing himself from the anti-squatting comments that Umunna made last autumn, he focused his response on some local residents concerns about squatting.
Umunna said: “I have raised the issue of squatting on behalf of constituents who have come to tell me about the problems they are facing as a result of squatting in their neighbourhood – raising issues such as this on behalf of my constituents is a crucial part of my role.”
Disappointed by Umunna’s stance, Lambeth Renters said: “We expect a commitment to action that tackles the root causes of homelessness, not further criminalisation of a group that includes very vulnerable people. We need real change.”
With similar campaigning groups popping up across London, Lambeth Renters are not alone in their fight.
Their next meeting is on Thursday 20 March at 7.30pm the Effra Hall Tavern, Kellet Road, Brixton.
For more information, see the Lambeth Renters website.