Our members have been organising to tackle the underlying causes of the housing crisis and homelessness because our communities are directly impacted by these issues. The lack of genuinely affordable homes has a number of consequences: it means that families are no longer able to live in the neighbourhoods they call home, that renters are often forced to live in poor conditions that damage their health and wellbeing and that more people are becoming homeless.
What we're doing...
... to protect vulnerable renters
While the majority of private landlords rent out safe properties that are in good conditions, there is a minority of landlords who neglect their responsibilities – forcing their tenants to deal with widespread mould, unsafe conditions and urgent repairs left unattended. In fact, we have heard countless stories of families in our communities who are suffering from health problems as a result of unsafe and poor housing conditions. All too often these families have no proper means through which to hold their landlord accountable and improve their situation.
That is why Citizens leaders have been persuading Local Authorities to introduce selective landlord licensing schemes, which require private landlords to obtain a license approved by their local Council. Landlord licensing gives Local Authorities greater control, enabling them to check on properties and protect renters from exploitation.
- Watch this 2017 BBC London News clip on our call for all London Boroughs to introduce landlord licensing schemes;
- Read about how one school took on the housing crisis and won change from their local authority.
- And watch this 2019 London Citizens campaign video on how we are continuing to organise around landlord licensing:
... to build more affordable homes and build inclusive communities
London Citizens has led a long grassroots campaign to promote Community Land Trust (CLT) homes, which are 100% affordable, with each home sold at a price linked to local wages. In 2017 the first urban Community Land Trust was built at St Clements in East London, on a site identified by our leaders.
- Watch this 2016 BBC Sunday Politics clip about Community Land Trusts.
Since then, Citizens chapters across the country have won commitments from 10 councils to build over 1,200 more permanently affordable CLT homes. This shows that through organising we can turn niche policy ideas into viable plans that benefit large numbers of people and build the powerful movement needed to drive change on this ongoing problem.
In addition to CLTs, our chapters have been campaigning to increase the percentage of affordable homes on new housing developments, including London’s largest development in recent years, the Old Oak and Park Royal Development in Brent.
Our work on these issues in London is made possible thanks to the support of Trust for London.
If you or your institution would like to be involved in this campaign, please email Peter.Brierley@citizensuk.org