Since last year, ACORN has been fighting alongside member Jacqui Lewis, to secure vital repairs to her damp, cold and mouldy rented home.
Despite repeated requests from Jacqui and two work orders served by Bristol City Council, her landlord Tobie Holbrook (of Holbrook Moran letting agents and Café Grounded), refused to do any meaningful work… until ACORN came along! After a demonstration in July we quickly got Jacqui a new front door and a few other repairs.
But the damp came back quickly and the landlord then dug in his heels. We called for an independent surveyor to assess what work is really needed but Tobie ignored us. Once again as an ACORN member Jacqui again turned to her union for help… and again our community responded!
We organised pickets of Tobie’s well-known chain of restaurants, Café Grounded, and more than 100 people signed up on social media.
That got Tobie’s attention! We got everything from pleas to threats. It seems the landlord really didn’t want the word getting out to customers of his restaurants!
We shrugged our shoulders and carried on. This is all pretty standard stuff when going up against people like that but we can’t let it bother us. They have their agenda and we have ours – PEOPLE POWER!
Another win! We called off our pickets, as Tobie agreed to pay for an independent damp surveyor to assess the disrepair and pledged that he would do the works needed.
Recently, the surveyor visited the property and whilst we are still waiting for his final report, he confirmed that there are many major issues with Jacqui’s home, potentially running into 10’s of £1000’s.
ACORN will keep working with Jacqui to make sure her landlord gives her the safe, healthy home she deserves, as well as backing up any members in similar situations. The solidarity of our community, pledging to take action when needed, means we no longer need to accept poor housing. And it is also what is giving us the power to begin making change across Bristol’s rental market.