A response to our 'fans'

Since we publicised the eviction of one of our members we've seen inappropriate and personal information shared elsewhere online. That's not good enough.

Since we publicised the eviction of one of our members we've seen inappropriate and personal information shared elsewhere online. This is inappropriate and we will not give it a platform on any web space or social media we administrate.

Where do you draw the line?

I'd like anyone reading this to imagine this with any other business/customer relationship.

Here's an example: I am free to tell you how much I pay Vodafone for my broadband, I can tell you how I rate their customer service, I can share speed test results showing the quality and stability of the service I receive, and if I feel they aren't up to par I can leave negative reviews. If Vodafone wanted to post in response to the issues I raised that would be acceptable, they could for example say my speed tests weren't accurate.

Now imagine Vodafone responded to my criticism by leaking my personal internet history - this would be viewed as a misuse of power, a data protection issue and an intimidation attempt.

This appears to be analogous to what has happened in our case, personal photographs which are irrelevant to the issues publicised are circulating with the intention of shaming one of our members, we see this as a tactic to scare other tenants from doing the same thing.

How should tenants be expected to live?

The short answer is- however they want. Of course, we aren't suggesting tenants be above the law or antisocial, but being a renter shouldn't mean you can't use the accommodation you pay an (often extortionate) rent for in whatever way you see fit.

If you're not damaging the property, your neighbours are undisturbed and you're acting within the law then you shouldn't have any bother from your landlord and you certainly shouldn't be shamed for standing up for yourself.

A Power imbalance

The marketisation of housing across the UK has led to a shortage of housing and a leadership invested in keeping it that way.

The housing market is the housing crisis

We now have a governing party who's members, MPs and voters are invested in ever-booming house prices, house prices (and therefore rent rates) wouldn't grow without shortage, if tenants weren't left to accept whatever low-quality rip off housing they were offered, rents would have to fall, landlords would have to sell and house prices would crash. Just this week we've seen the housing secretary Michael Gove suggest that the targets for social housing stated in the 2019 election will likely be missed. This is by design.

The housing market is the illusion of choice

Why "bad tenants" and "bad landlords" are not the same

When landlords are criticised, either for their specific behaviour as in the case above or for the wider impact of landlordism on society and the economy, the defence is normally "some tenants are bad as well", "the tenant shouldn't have signed the contract if they couldn't follow it" or "why don't they just move if the landlord is so bad". These defences are fundamentally wrong.

Most tenants don't want to be tenants, they want housing. With social housing in decline for decades, most people, including the people who come to PTU for help, have no choice but private rent, this leaves people with two choices, take your chances with the private rented sector (with whatever you can find) or homelessness.

It's a fundamental belief of our organisation: rent or be homeless is no choice at all.

Unlike tenants, who normally have to rent to live, landlords have entered the market with the intention of generating cash, they may have worked hard for the deposit on their property but from that point forward they are simply syphoning off the value of the tenants labour or extracting value out of the welfare system, funded by tax payers, all to grow a property portfolio.

Landlords have an easy "opt-out" -if a landlord finds their responsibilities difficult they can sell up, with the continual growth of the housing market means they will still have a pot of gold waiting for them.

If landlords hadn't been out-bidding regular owner-occupiers and first time buyers, pushing up prices for the past 30 years, many of us would still be living in the same houses, they'd just be affordable and regular working people would be able to own them. The demand for rentals would be much smaller. Even "good" landlords contribute to this problem.

There's no good reason for some people to own multiple homes while many of the key-workers we were all recently clapping on our doorsteps for will never have the chance to own just one.

Exposing "bad" landlords

One of the ways we can help our members and all renters, is by exposing bad landlords. We help local renters with a variety of issues, unfortunately yet unsurprisingly, most renters feel uncomfortable about speaking to their landlord let alone going public, out of fear of repercussions as they look for rental accommodation going forward or the landlord issuing a section 21 "no fault" eviction.

In the rare cases when we can publicise this mistreatment we are sending a message to local landlords that you may want to think twice about how you treat your tenant: tenants are organising and standing up for themselves.

Gul Nawaz - the eviction on Haddon Road

We believe the time-line in this case speaks for itself, we won't publicise the response that seems to be circulating around social media, but we think it speaks for its self: either those images have been deliberately leaked by Gul Nawaz or they've not been held securely in the first place.

Not the level of professionalism you'd expect from a serving councillor on Peterborough City Council, there's been no official public response from Gul Nawaz that we're aware of, but we've seen some unaccountable Facebook rumours from people we believe to be his associates..

We commend our member's bravery in allowing us to publicise this case given the risks involved, and we hope that in future landlords will chose to work with their tenants - our members - instead of against them.