It’s been a good week for tenant power here in Bristol. With the winter weather starting to bite and worsening the ever-present maintenance problems in rental properties, the dozens of tenants looking to get organised, pledge financial support and fight for decent living conditions speaks to ACORN’s growing reputation as the organisation that will get things done.
Collective action and mutual support are the bread and butter of ACORN’s organising. Without our members and their conviction that together we can turn the tide in favour of housing justice there would be little hope of positive change in Bristol’s rented sector. Instead volunteer teams this week organised temporary repairs while preparing direct action to win permanent upgrades from unwilling landlords. Door knocking teams took our rental surveys to the streets and tenants of Easton and new members such as Muna began asserting their newly-discovered rights - sending her landlord packing after he turned up at her door unannounced on a Sunday evening.
This increased profile can be seen from the attitude of the other side of the equation also: in half a dozen cases a single demand letter bearing the ACORN logo has seen landlords promising works to the value of tens of thousands of pounds after years of turning a blind eye and deaf ear to their tenants’ complaints. To be sure, a promise of work is far from the finished job and ACORN members are putting together plans to ensure compliance. With the makings of a new group south of the river and plans for the next phase in our Ethical Lettings campaign, December looks set to be another clear step forwards. ACORN is on the move!