"I was so glad to feel like progress is being made on an issue that has been affecting me for years. I think the scale of the problem was apparent yet people still remained positive and respectful! I'm really pleased the letting agents also seemed to appreciate the problem needs solving" - Ellen, ACORN member.
So many renters we meet feel totally isolated. Well, not anymore.
(Steph starting us off)
Last night, for the first time ever in Newcastle, 100 people came together to tell their story of bad renting and speak directly to letting agents. We heard about ceilings falling in, lies to get people to sign, mushrooms growing in bedroom walls, invasions of privacy and much, much more. ACORN members and leaders then put their questions to the letting agents.
(Ian introducing the housing campaign)
We had representatives of Wright Residential, Heaton Property and letslivehere on the night and we'd really like to thank them for being there too and for all their responses. A big part of what we've always wanted to do in this campaign is celebrate good practice as well as put pressure on the bad, so it's great to see there's agents out there who want to stay ahead of the curve.
(Ares posing questions to the letting agents)
All three agreed:
- To the repair schedule set out in the Charter.
- That they meet all all legal minimums (especially around fees, notice and deposits).
- To sign ACORN's Ethical Lettings Charter.
(Hearing some answers)
Of course the next stage for all of us is making sure everything that was agreed last night does actually happen. And there's definitely more work to be done: especially around some of the worst offenders and making sure people on benefits can access the homes they need.
(More questions to the agents)
But that's exactly what ACORN's here to do. So we'll be there every step of the way. Join us if you want to get involved in making things better.
(ACORN members listening to the responses)
Afterwards we stuck around to discuss what we'd heard, ways to make sure everything happens, and the best ways to promote the good letting agents. We also agreed to put pressure on some of the worst landlords we've come across out in Heaton, so watch this space for more info.
(Planning our next steps)
So, overall a great night for people power. Thanks everyone for being there with us, and special thanks to everyone in the planning team for making it happen.
Want to be a part of it?
Head over to our volunteer page to get involved.
And we couldn't do anything without our members chipping in the price of a cup of coffee once a month. If you like what we do and would be up for donating, you can sign up here.
See you at the next one.