As private renters in London, we were interested to read your feature (‘Rent was astronomical’: people on why they left London in their 30s, theguardian.com, 29 August). Most of us don’t have the casual luxury of uprooting ourselves from London – our home – for a new life in Bristol, the Midlands or the North. Many of us grew up in London. Our families live in London. Our jobs are in London. Our friends and lives are all here.
London’s housing crisis is not just about white gen Xers or millennials in their 30s, anxious about their homeownership dreams sliding out of view. Many renters are black, working-class people on low incomes. We pay exorbitant rents to live in shoddy, cramped, even dangerous housing. We can be evicted at a moment’s notice, through no fault of our own. Meanwhile, thousands of Londoners are facing homelessness because they cannot keep up with the extortionate rents and fees that characterise the private rental market.
London is a fantastic city and it is our home. But renters across the capital have had enough. That’s why we’re part of a new London Renters Union, launched this year and growing fast.
We’re Londoners – and we plan on fighting to make our city a place where everyone has a decent, secure, affordable place to call home. That means standing together, against the landlords and agents who exploit us, to demand better housing for all.
If renters come together, we’re powerful enough to realise the big changes our housing system needs. We cannot leave our city and should not feel we have to. We urge renters in London to join our fight.
Shiran Mohamed and Anabel Bennett López
London Renters Union
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