The London borough is to splash out £100,000 on setting up the new organisation, the first of its kind launched by a UK council.

Earlier this week councillors at Southwark council voted in favour of the initiative, which aims to lobby for better standards and take action against rogue landlords in the borough where it’s estimated that one-third of homes are now privately rented.

Labour councillor James McAsh, who pushed for the scheme, told the council assembly that a “crisis of greed” had left residents in the private rented sector at the mercy of rent hikes and poor-quality properties.

He says: “We have to deal with the homes in our borough that are under the control of unscrupulous landlords – and the pain caused by ratcheting up rents and landlords turning up announced.

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“Those scoundrels think they can get away with it because they’re accountable to no one, but today that changes.”

Councillor McAsh said the new union was a “rebalancing of power” and a way to support tenants to defend their own rights and interests.

Although Southwark Council is still short on detail about how the union will be run, the cash will be available in the next financial year. It will be one of a few renters’ unions already established in the UK, including the London Renters Union, Tenants Union UK and Acorn.

These aim to defend the interests and quality of life of tenants and renters, and redress what they see as an imbalance of power between landlords and tenants.

The borough runs two property licensing schemes and wants to introduce a ‘gold standard’ register of landlords to recognise and publicly list those who are best in class.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The useless Southwark Council couldn’t organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery! How dare that idiot Labour Councillor James McAsh talk about unscrupulous landlords. I’d like a bit of ‘re-balancing of power’ to force them to fulfil their responsibilities as freeholders.

    I own an ex-council flat in Southwark and ever since the beginning of January, I have been trying to get them to repair a leak from THEIR soil stack that’s affecting my tenants. Their repairs department is mainly staffed by ‘Computer Says No’ drones and all they do is generate reference numbers but over two months later still NOTHING has been done!

    If you don’t believe me, just take a look at their Google reviews.

  2. The daft thing is that Southwark Council seems to think that there is a see-saw with all tenants (good and rotten) on one end and all landlords (good and rotten) on the other, and their job is to add their weight (at a cost of £100,000 !) to the tenants’ end in the formation of a “Tenants’ Union” to help all tenants regardless of whether they be good or rotten.

    When will they (and their ilk) realise that there IS actually a see-saw; but it’s a see-saw with Good tenants and Good landlords together on one end and Rotten tenants and Rotten landlords together on the other end, and that the Council should add its weight to the “good” end by funding a “Good tenants and Good landlords Union” ?

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