Category Archives: Actions

Winning!

Up against powerful vested interests and a government that supports (or shares) them, campaigning for a better housing system can often feel like fighting a losing battle. But not this week!

On Monday, the government quietly dropped its controversial ‘Pay to Stay’ plans to impose unaffordable market rents for social housing tenants on incomes above a stingy minimum. This policy was introduced earlier this year as part of the regressive Housing and Planning Act, which members of Radical Housing Network (RHN) joined with the Kill the Housing Bill campaign to organise against.

kensington-occupation march-march

We occupied a building in Kensington and helped build a march of thousands in protest against the Housing Bill

Then in yesterday’s budget, it was announced that letting agents will be banned from charging fees to tenants. Letting agent fees can often be £500 or more, making the already high costs of moving house impossible for renters to afford.

RHN members have for years have been calling for the law in the rest of the UK to be brought in line with Scotland, where this form of profiteering is already outlawed. As Hackney renters’ group, Digs, wrote yesterday:

“To be a renter is very often to feel totally powerless. But today’s announcement shows what can be achieved when communities get organised and turn up the heat on those who hold power.”

town-hall-group

F*ck fees! Digs’ action against letting agents’ fees, discrimination and other dodgy dealings in July 2013

These changes come hot on the heels of other local victories across London. Following concerted campaigning on the Aylesbury estate in south London, Southwark council have been prevented from evicting leaseholders after the government refused to grant compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to force them to leave. In west London, the local council recently refused a planning application by housing association Affinity Sutton which would have seen the Sutton estate demolished, resulting in a loss of social housing. And last week, RHN’s meeting was hosted by the inspiring campaigners on the Butterfield estate in Walthamstow, who shared how they have fought off evictions and attempts by their landlord to make huge rent rises.

Of course, there’s still a long way to go. Social housing is still under attack on many fronts, and millions are stuck renting sub-standard insecure and unaffordable homes from private landlords, while Southwark council are appealing against the decision to block their CPOs on the Aylesbury estate (you can donate to the residents’ crowd-funder to fight it here).

But this week shows that by organising together we can win victories that make real differences to people’s lives – and the bigger we can build our movement, the more we will win!

Gyms, tiny rooms and massive rent – what we learned about student housing at MIPIM.

by Pearl Ahrens, UCL Cut the Rent

While some of us were outside MIPIM asking delegates to Give Us Back Our Fucking Rent!, others were inside seeing what deals were being done, what people were saying – and what’s going to happen to housing in this country.

Private rental sector and excusing higher rents.

“[We’ll see a] total convergence in real estate generally of housing and the rental sector, of life, work and play not as separate sectors”.

This, according to Matt Yeoman, Director BuckleyGrayYeoman, is the direction of travel for the private rental sector (PRS). He was speaking on a panel about the ‘Future of student housing’.

The upshot of this panel? The future of the PRS is about an increasing similarity with hotels and the hospitality industry. Making renting not about just having a place to live, but about providing a whole inclusive life-experience from the apartment block. This will have a knock-on effect on the private student accommodation sector, and that in turn will impact university-owned halls.

Property providers know the housing crisis is something they have created – Bruce Ritchie, CEO at Residential Land spoke of the “frustration of aspiring young people… most people know where they want to live, it’s just whether they can afford it”. And so, they reap the benefits of their own actions by renting instead of selling, by using the provision of extra services as an excuse to raise rents even further. In the private rental sector, ‘affordable’ doesn’t mean affordable. Affordable Rent means “subject to rent controls that require a rent of no more than 80% of the local market rent (including service charges, where applicable)”[1]

End of halls

Students who don’t get into university-owned halls end up in the private rental sector – a far cry from the ‘halls experience’ where they meet their friends and have the traditional first year of university. Phillip Hillman, chair of JLL UK Alternatives, sees this as a gap in the “immature” private rental market which private student accommodation is filling. For providers, private student accommodation is a great investment – it’s like the fast-growing private rental sector but with a more stable, Brexit-resilient stream of available tenants. Again, the idea is to provide lots of hospitality and built-in services – group study spaces, gyms etc. and cut back on everything else. That students can’t afford these premium apartments is a nuisance providers get around – according to Richard Gabelich, CEO at UK Campus Living Villages (CLV) with this “big focus on affordability, you can get away with smaller bedrooms if you’ve got great study space”. Companies like Richard’s are taking advantage of this opportunity at an extraordinary rate – the proportion of student accommodation administered by private providers went from 18% in 2006 to 41% in 2015/16.[2]. The trend towards providing other services also exists here, as Matt Yeoman said at the panel – “It’s entirely hospitality driven. [If not, it] will fail. [If we keep] upping the bar, [we] will be fine”

This drift towards hospitality ventures means private student accomodation, with these stark takeover rates, are ‘leading’ the way.  “Every PRS scheme we are working on feels like student housing eight to ten years ago”, Yeoman also said.

The problem with all this isn’t simply the provision of social spaces. It’s the social spaces being offered as a ‘luxury option’ and the hike in rents which this necessarily entails. This increase in rent is supposedly legitimised by the expansion of the provision of services, though there’s nothing to stop private student accommodation providers raising the rents to a price above and beyond what it costs to provide those services, and way above and beyond what most students can afford before they are forced to live in dire poverty.

How this relates to universities.

On the part of the universities, it’s difficult to provide enough spaces for all their students in the halls they own, and with gross underfunding from the government, the halls’ rents seem like the perfect source of income, ready and available to tap.The mere existence of private student accommodation allows universities like UCL to excuse their extortionate rents, driving up prices in all accommodation. For example, UCL over-prices all its accommodation to make a surplus which they plough back into the UCL Estates pot. While ‘higher quality means higher price’ attitude of private student accommodation providers is to be expected, one would expect better of universities, considering their duty to students.

If universities were properly funded by the government they wouldn’t have to scrape the pockets of their students to find research funding. However, with talk of lifting the £9000 cap, and with top unis like UCL actively lobbying for less funding from the government, it’s unlikely that they will be adequately funded any time soon. UCL’s former Provost Malcolm Grant was quoted advocating lifting the then £3000 cap all the way back in 2006, so to think that lifting the (now £9000) cap on tuition fees is a sustainable or just solution to funding problems is absurd.

Some of the time, universities and private providers work directly together – in public-private partnerships. The trick of underfunding the public sector until it needs to be ‘saved’ by the private one is at play here, and was acknowledged by the panel. Hillman said that underfunded universities run halls with “half [of student accommodation] well below the standard that universities say is desirable, and the universities have no money, [so] they look to the private sector”. Gabelich, too is fully aware of the difficult situation the government put universities in. He mentioned how the cap on tuition fees is generating funding worries for universities, so private student accomodation provides “an avenue in which they can get capital from the private sector to invest in other areas (like research)… universities are cottoning on more and more to that”.

[1] http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/policy/achieving-sustainable-development/annex-2-glossary/

[2] http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/resources/nus-unipol-accommodation-costs-survey-2015

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/student-judges-student-accomodation-awards_uk_580f0d40e4b0f479c0d79810

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Timeline of RHN Direct Action 2015

SWEETS WAY OCCUPATION

A beautiful house has been occupied on the Sweets Way estate in Barnet. Come down to check out the estate, chat to some local residents, and help create a community space!

sweetsway4

The Sweets Way estate is in the process of a total decant, with about 15 households left of almost 160. The houses are in perfect condition, but are due to be knocked down by developer Annington Homes to double the density with only 33 ‘affordable’ units. Residents have no right of return. The estate has been used as temporary accommodation for Barnet Council via Notting Hill Housing Trust, in some cases for up to 6 years. The residents are at the beginning of their political action together, and are currently coming together to discuss their collective demands of the council.

sweetsway1

This is yet another case of developers manipulating the class composition of an area to increase their profits. Residents who have been in Barnet for decades are being forced out, aided by council policy to force up rents to 80% of market rates. They are looking for support in this battle, so if you can get on the Northern line we are only 26mins from Kings Cross.

Here’s our wishlist if you can help out with bringing anything. Check Barnet Housing Action Group and the Radical Housing Network sites, as well as @SweetsWayN20 twitter for updates.

First and foremost, it is the solidarity of people coming and helping out that will win back the homes in this community.

Can donate any of the following?

  • lightbulbs
  • lampshapes/lamps
  • bucket
  • Electric heaters
  • flipchart/paper
  • blackboard paper
  • chalk
  • towels
  • cutlery
  • cleaning supplies
  • space heaters
  • furniture – table chairs beds
  • sleeping bags/bedding
  • cleaning stuff
  • sponges/liquids/sprays
  • blue tac
  • extension cables
  • torches
  • paint and brushes

VIDEO: the children of Sweets Way speak up

sweetsway2
sweetsway5sweetsway6sweetsway3

Radical Housing Network Week of Action: story so far

It’s the Radical Housing Network week of action! It’s been a mad few days – here are some updates…

Saturday 14th February

Saturday was “Love Council Houses / Love Your Estate Day”.

In Lambeth, with Lambeth Housing Activists, a stall and a film screening in the day ended with a bang as one of the borough’s many threatened estates was occupied. The Guinness Trust Estate near Loughborough Park is being evicted, to make way for Guinness to demolish the blocks and build luxury apartments which will go on sale at full market rate. Of course none of the tenants being evicted can afford to buy the new flats and are facing leaving London, jobs, schools, friends and their community to find somewhere affordable to live. But many residents are saying no and refusing to go.

The occupation is building by the day, and the occupiers would love support with people, publicity and stuff – check out the wishlist if you can help!

Tower Hamlets Renters went on a walking tour of the borough’s council housing, discussing its history, politics and future. The tour took in
th arnold circus

1. The Boundary Estate: Europe’s first social housing project funded by the state, although interviews and references were required to ensure only the ‘deserving’ working class became tenants.
2. Sivill House: built under a Tory government after they were re-elected in 1951 having pledged to build more social housing than the previous Labour government. They built 100k a year for 13-years.
th tower
3. Keeling House: the first council block to be listed, however, badly built it lay empty for years as it decayed until it was sold off. Flats now go for £500k with rents for a two-bed around £2,300.
4. The Minerva Estate: built in 1948 by the post-war Labour government which built 1m homes in five years!

Lpb4p paint

Lewisham People Before Profit celebrated the last large-scale council house building project in the borough of Lewisham with a photoshoot and leafleting of Deptford Wharf. Virtually everyone we spoke to signed our petition calling for all new housing in the borough to be Council housing until there are no families in emergency B & B accommodation – there are currently 600 homeless families and countless other people who aren’t entitled even to emergency accommodation.

lpb4p group

Unfortunately a bereavement meant we didn’t have the lovely RHN posters, but we made a quick substitute with “Big Money is Moving In” placards.

This follows on from the action three weeks ago when we built a “House of Cards” at the Town Hall drawing attention to the problems of homelessness and the unwillingness of Lewisham Council to enforce its own targets for “affordable” homes:

People Before Profit: Build a house at Lewisham town hall from Lee Barham on Vimeo.

At Our West Hendon there was a special Love Your Estate dinner, as well as a screening of the Spirit of ’45, and a cheeky action plastering Barratts with our messages…

owh jannete

South London’s other occupied estate, the Aylesbury, hosted an activity day, including a practical barricading skillshare, a teach-in on the politics and history of regeneration in Southwark, and a planning discussion on the ‘poor doors’ campaign in Whitechapel.

The Aylesbury is next in line for the kind of all-out social cleansing Southwark Council is known for, most infamously on the Heygate estate were thousands of low-income homes have been lost and are being replaced with luxury developments. Read the statement from the occupiers here.

focus 14thfeb
And Focus E15 were out in force for “Love Carpenters Estate”, with a stall on Stratford high street.

Sunday 15th February

While momentum at the Guinness Trust occupation kept building, the Aylesbury Occupiers teamed up with Brick Lane Debates for a community debate: Is this the beginning of the end of the housing crisis?
brick lane debates
Speakers from FocusE15, Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth, Our West Hendon, Hackney Digs and more came together to discuss tactics for building a broad-based grassroots housing movement, with direct action at its core.
brick lane debate 2

Monday 16th February

bha
Barnet Housing Action Group held an anti-eviction protest at Sweets Way Estate, resisting the eviction of four families, some of the last remaining residents in this site of social cleansing. The Bailiffs got scared off – showed up and drove away.
The FIGHTBACK has begun!!
sweets way
Residents moved on to Barnet House Council Office, getting it under lockdown for two hours: but Barnet residents and newly homeless were refused entry by security.
Two newly homeless people and a witness secured entry for a meeting with Housing Officers….who have promised (on video) that each affected family will be contacted for a meeting this afternoon and be offered suitable housing locally. More actions planned this week – help wanted, including anyone with legal/advocacy experience!

Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth held a protest at Lambeth Town Hall. Lambeth council is threatening to use powers under the Localism Act to force homeless families to accept private sector accomodation outside the borough or face homelessness. As in other boroughs across the city, they have found a way to evade their obligation to provide council homes for homeless families

The police turned up with tasers to scare the local residents away, but with the support of the Pensioners Action Group who happened to be passing, HASL occupied the offices for over two hours.


Meanwhile up in Tottenham, Haringey Housing Action Group handed out leaflets and chatted to residents, raising awareness of the same issues around homelessness and the Localism Act that HASL are trying to tackle in Lambeth. The new powers are a direct engine of social cleansing, and members of HHAG have reported being offered accommodation on the other side of the country, even though the council claims this is not their policy.

There was also demonstration outside court for the Aylesbury Occupation. Although the occupiers were slapped with an IPO (Interim Possession Order – a sneaky way to shut down protest) they won’t be giving up easily. Get down there at 6 this evening for a public meeting to plan next steps.

A demonstration at the Guinness Trust offices took place at 9am, but no sign of the Guinness folk! We’ll be going back every day at 9am – come down and support.

This evening

Join Tower Hamlets Renters for a screening of Si Se Puede, or get down to the Aylesbury to plan the forward movement for the occupation at 6pm, and then join the Guinness Trust occupation meeting at 7pm.

And the rest of this week?

See the listings here, and follow twitter for the most up-to-date info on actions across the city.

Say NO to MIPIM 2014

MIPIMF

What is MIPIM?
MIPIM proudly describes itself as the world’s largest property fair, attracting around 20,000 investors, developers, local authorities, and banks each year.
It usually takes place annually in Cannes, France. This year will see the first MIPIM UK, to be held at London’s Olympia 15-17 October. Billed as ‘the 1st UK property trade show gathering all professionals looking to close deals in the UK property market’ – a gathering of professionals and elites looking to profiteer from UK land and property.
Join affected communities, the Radical Housing Network, the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City, Defend Council Housing, trade unions and a range of other groups to say NO to MIPIM: YES to housing justice!
Why?
MIPIM promotes an unsustainable business-as-usual approach to housing and land use that is privatised and profit-driven for the benefit the richest 1% whilst destroying our communities and keeping millions in poverty.
We are facing a major housing crisis with prices spiralling out of control, cuts to essential housing support services, the bedroom tax hitting the most vulnerable, and public land being sold off to speculators. Meanwhile record numbers of homeless are forced to live on the streets.
Local authorities that attend are on the lookout for potential business partners and corporate interests who’ll collaborate on yet more ‘regeneration’ plans. We don’t want more boutique hotels, offices, luxury housing and shopping centres, we don’t want our neighbourhoods to be gentrified and entire communities evicted. We want quality affordable housing for all.
There are alternatives. We say ‘enough is enough’. We demand:
  • No more sell-offs of public land
  • A national programme of council house building
  • Rent control and more rights for private renters
  • The decriminalisation of squatting
When?
Next organising meeting   Tuesday 9 September, 7pm – 33-37 Moreland St, EC1v 8BB Public meeting                     Tuesday 16 September, 7pm – 128 Theobald’s Road,                                                                  WC1X 8TN
MIPIM UK                            15 – 17 October, Olympia W14 8UX
Day of protest                      Wednesday 15 October from 9.30am
                                                Friday 17 October from 5pm
Where?
Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London W14 8UX,

Making Links between Housing and the Environmental Movement: 2nd Forum on Natural Commons

Attending the conference “2nd Forum on Natural Commons”, held on 2nd June 2014 in London, the author was looking for common ground between the housing and environmental movements, to see what links could be made in the future. Having missed most of the first half, took the following notes for the second:

Carbon/ biodiversity credits/ offsets are financial instruments to provide incentives/ monetary payments for “protecting” eco-systems. However these credits have mostly led to land- & green-grabs, such that areas rich in natural diversity have been turned into private conservation reserves, fenced off for offsetting credits and used to harvest “eco” consumer products. Market-based credits have simply become a means for the commodification of the natural environment, a collusion between science, finance and government based on the flawed assumptions of “the market”; this type of conservation sees all eco-systems as a homogenous mass (so that for example irreplaceable ancient woodland is considered equivalent to any other forest) and the only value of the environment as a means to making profit.

Credits have lead to a redistribution of power in areas affected, with green-grabs, enclosure and “fortress conservation”, in which the indigenous communities are marginalised, and any deliberative process and debate closed down in favour of making money. In Europe and the UK, “independent” (private) verification contractors are paid to create offsets, these offsets then used for speculation and gaming, and areas set aside as offsets are often built on a few years later (issues of maintenance). There are often perverse outcomes from this type of environmental protection, such as the growing desirability of land around national parks, created to protect natural eco-systems, but now the favoured sites for the rich to live in wealthy enclaves. Similarly, “experts” (eg ecologists, geologists) colonise these “commons” and landscapes with rules and regulations to “protect” them, thereby stopping local communities from deriving sustenance/ recreation from them.

Carbon Trade Watch have put together a short report on the global issue of biodiversity credits and their abuse in a “A Fish for a Tree: Understanding the (il)logic behind Biodiversity Offsets”

There is still plenty of land-grabbing in the EU and UK, especially around infrastructure, agricultural and energy policy, a constant battle between large corporates vs small producers, rights of possession vs rights to produce, etc. Resource issues are treated as a technical issue (monetary value), rather than a rights-based issue, and highly centralised land ownership leads to problems of access to land for everyone else. One recent example of this green-grabbing is that of a large solar farm in Sardinia, Italy, where 64ha of prime agricultural land was taken over for a private solar farm, with small farmers forced off the land and given small, one-off compensation payments, while the EU subsidised the solar project to the tune of Euro7 million a year.

Friends of the Earth and FERN have put together an excellent selection of case studies from the UK which demonstrate how biodiversity offsets are used by property developers to defraud communities of their ancient woodlands, green belt, meadows, etc.
“Case studies of biodiversity offsetting: voices from the ground” [foe, FERN; 2 June 2014]

In seeking to draw parallels between housing struggles and environmentalism, the first similarity is their opposition to the prevalent system of rapacious capitalism. Corporates and governments alike cynically manipulate instruments and legislation to promote and protect their own vested interests, using “institutional abuse” to break down resistance to their predetermined agendas; for example in the UK, Social Services currently threaten families under eviction with having their children taken into “care” if they do not comply. Secondly, the centralised and concentrated control of land, power, resources, etc means that there is little scope for alternative models, and where alternatives do exist, they are constantly under threat from encroaching resource-grabs (eg council housing taken over by housing associations and Right-To-Buy).

Governments and corporates are short-termist in their approach, preferring quick wins for profit, tax income, votes, etc. to the detriment of long-term sustainability and human rights; for example the current engineered property bubble will have dire consequences for the economy in the future, while state-backed extreme energy-extraction like fracking is already posing serious threats to human health, potable water resources, climate change, and the industrialisation of the countryside. The collusion between state and capital is global in nature, as illustrated  by two upcoming international summits that will see power brokers carving up common resources and selling them off without any public consultation; in the case of housing this will happen at MIPIM in London in October and in terms of environmental commons, is currently happening through the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), set to be codified into UK law with the Infrastructure Bill.

In housing, as in the environmental movement, there is a concerted and growing grass-roots resistance to the complete disregard for people and planet. In order to succeed, networks from both movements need to start co-ordinating strategies and tactics, share information and research, provide mutual support and find common targets from their respective angles. This unity of purpose created one of the defining moments of the ‘90’s anti-globalisation movement; in Seattle in 1999, during the WTO summit, separate marches of environmentalists, trade unionists, human rights activists, etc converged, united and took action to close down the summit just as state and corporate leaders were unilaterally agreeing the privatisation of national resources. With the latest summits on global privatisation, we are once again called upon to defend what we still have, and actively implement what could be.

Follow at:
#naturenotforsale
#londonnotforsale

Stop Selling Our Cities!

This week is the annual MIPIM conference- the world’s biggest property fair, where our cities, lives and communities are bought and sold.

This year, activists, campaigners and citizens from across Europe are fighting back. Today is the European Day of Action against MIPIM, and the Radical Housing Network is pleased to be a supporter. A People’s Tribunal is taking place in Cannes, with people coming from across Europe, including the UK, to put the developers of MIPIM on trial for the damage they have done to our cities.

From the European call-out:

At the annual real estate spring party “MIPIM” in Cannes businessmen will not be totally alone this year. For the first time in 25 years of undisturbed deal making they may meet some of their final “customers”, victims or resistors, shouting in a square of Cannes. The “European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City” organizes an international protest against the huge speculation projects, which normally get prepared and celebrated at this annual meeting of the who-is-whos in the global property market.

Here’s a very cool video explaining more about MIPIM:

Last week, we went to City Hall, to tell Boris and the GLA to stop selling our city at MIPIM. Check it out:

Press Call: City Hall Demonstration to Stop Boris selling London at MIPIM

Date: March 6th, 2014
Time: 2.15pm
Location: City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA
Contact: Rob Ronan- 07761789947 (Interviews available on request)

On Thursday 6th March housing groups and residents from across London will demonstrate outside City Hall to express their anger at Mayor Boris Johnson and over 20 UK councils participating in the MIPIM conference which is fuelling the housing crisis.

MIPIM is the world’s biggest property fair and will take place from 11 to 14 March in Cannes in the south of France. The fair has a €1600 entry fee per person and brings together 20,000 investors, developers, local authorities, and banks.

Boris and councillors will be meeting potential business partners in Cannes for the selling of public land and to approve ‘regeneration’ plans for more hotels, offices, luxury housing, shopping centres in UK cities.

As London councillors will be setting off for MIPIM on Thursday there will be a ‘speak-out’ of people’s difficulties in finding affordable, secure housing in the UK. This will be followed by a presentation of three reports about the disastrous impacts of corporate housing developers benefitting from lucrative public contracts. A competition is being held to bring the most ‘For Sale’ signs in protest at policy to marketise housing which makes profits for speculators, landlords and developers, and ignores the housing need of the communities experiencing ‘regeneration’.

Nic Lane from ‘Brent Housing Action’ says: “We, the people who have been affected by deals made at MIPIM by our “representatives” knew nothing of these deals until it was too late. Residents all over London are being forced out of their communities because of rising rents, and the building of unaffordable ‘affordable’ housing schemes to replace council housing.”

Liliana Dmitrovic of ‘People’s Republic of Southwark’ added: “We are coming to City Hall to show that our land, our cities, and our homes, will not be sold by politicians to line the pockets of developers. These are the individuals responsible for the housing crisis, and we believe that everyone deserves a decent home.”

The ‘London not for sale’ demonstration will be part of protests across Europe in response to a call from ‘European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City’, which is supported in London by the ‘Radical Housing Network’.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Link to Mayor Boris Johnson’s keynote speech at the MIPIM conference last year

2. A teaser list of councils, developers, estate agents, banks and investors attending the MIPIM conference this year

3. Follow #londonnotforsale for updates

4. www.radicalhousingnetwork.org Twitter: @radicalhousing

Stop Boris selling our city at MIPIM! March 6th, City Hall, 2.15pm

MIPIM FLYER FRONT (1)

MIPIM is the world’s biggest property fair, where our cities and our land are up for sale. It takes place in Cannes, bringing together about 20,000 investors, developers, local authorities, and banks to figure out how to carve up our cities and sell off our land.

The companies which attend MIPIM, and our government “representatives” who share their champagne, are responsible for the eviction of communities, the gentrification of our neighbourhoods, and the housing crisis itself.

This year, on March 12th, people in cities across Europe are taking action to denounce the sale of our cities. The actions have been called by the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City, and is supported here by the Radical Housing Network.

People in London are organising, and plans are brewing. We don’t want Boris Johnson and local councils selling our homes, because we have the rage that comes from our experience of corporate control. We are for quality, secure, truly affordable housing for all, and we will get it.

Join us, 6th March, 2.15pm, outside City Hall. Bring stories of your life in the housing crisis, or your struggle against it.

Bring For Sale signs – a prize will be awarded for the borough with the most!

Follow #londonnotforsale for updates

Get in touch for flyers and posters to share.

Call for participation with the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City

In December housing rights activists from a number of European cities met in Paris to discuss ideas for joint actions in 2014. One of the main outcomes was a general plan for decentralised action at the occasion of the international real estate fair MIPIM.

MIPIM 2014 will take place from 11 to 14 March in Cannes in the south of France. This is one of global capitalism’s major annual events for all aspects of the real estate business, including the buying and selling of land, the planning, construction, financing, facilitation and management of housing and commercial property around the world. Some 20,000 people will take part, with an entry fee of €1600 per person. At MIPIM the planet is for sale.

Some of those attending the MIPIM real estate market will come from public municipalities and councils around the world. They will be seeking to sell public land and infrastructure, directly, as part of development projects or in “private-public-partnerships” (PPPs), the collaborationist approach of UN-Habitat’s “Manifesto for cities”. They will be approving ‘regeneration’ plans that respond to the interests of speculators: hotels, offices, luxury housing, shopping centres. Here, they will make contact with possible business partners to sell the commons in order to escape their financial crisis. The ordinary people who will be affected often know nothing of these deals until it is too late. We are coming together to disrupt this process.

The inhabitants of capitals across Europe will be targeting political representatives travelling to MIPIM to sell off our cities. Over 20 UK and London councils are already confirmed, including the Greater London Authority, with overall responsibility for housing in London. A teaser list of councils, developers, estate agents, banks and investors attending is below, along with a link to Boris’ keynote speech at last year’s MIPIM.

Please scan the list for any corporations you are struggling against, and let us know the projects they are involved with, and demands you have of them. Our actions will be successful if we can bring together diverse groups already organising against attendees, and make the links across the city and internationally. We will be acting not just on our own behalf, but also in solidarity with organisers in Southern Europe, whose domestic housing policies are controlled solely by the Troika and international big business. If we have enough local case studies we will present a dossier at a tribunal in Cannes during MIPIM in addition to the London action.

The Radical Housing Network is pulling together a coalition to take action against our political representatives selling off London – we are calling meetings for all constituencies who are affected by transnational real estate, especially those whose enemies are named below.

Contact londonnotforsale[at]gmail[dot]com for further information, or to get involved in organising for March.

Savilles
Harrow Estates- Redrow PLC
Exemplar
Knight Frank
Helical Bar
Barclays
Wilmott Dixon
Albany Homes Developments
A2 Dominion
Travelodge
Blackrock
Morgan Sindall Group PLC
Muir Group
Muse Developments
British Land
Neat Developments
Capita
One Housing Group
Cowell Group
Pembroke Real Estate
Generation Estates
Great Portland Estates
Kier
Skanska
London District Housing Association
M and G Investments
UBS
United House Group
Quadrant
University of Oxford
Axa
British Property Federation
British Airways Pension Fund
Presidential Capital
Pricewaterhousecoopers
CLS Holidays PLC
Bloomberg
Reed Elsevier
Genesis
Goldman Sachs
Hamptons
Curson Real Estate
Shaftesbury PLC
ICM Wealth Management Ltd.
Hilton
Jeffries International
Land Securities
Langham Estate Management Ltd
Landmark
Capital and Centric PLC
Carillion
Logicor Europe Ltd.
Royal Mail Group
Residential Land Ltd.
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