organisations protest against high rents imposed by private landlords.
A rent strike in London's East End helps win the Dockers Strike
of 1891. Mining and agricultural trade unions campaign around housing
issues. Socialist and labour movement groups organise tenant action
against high rent and rates and in favour of municipal housing.
Private landlords and charitable trusts were the target of tenant
1912 - 1915
Tenants organise a wave of rent strikes across the country against
high rents. The Labour Party leads the protests in a campaign for
public housing.The protests end in the ferocious Glasgow rent strike
of 1915 which forces the government for the first time to introduce
rent controls for the private sector.
Legislation is passed to enable subsidised council house building.
New estates are built and tenants associations form immediately,
often campaigning against high rents and calling for representation
for tenants in housing issues.
1920 - 1930
Tenants associations form
city-wide Federations and lobby Councils for representation and
involvement in rent setting. A National Tenants Federation is formed.
Tenants associations campaign for community facilities and organise
Leeds tenants federation
leads a rent strike against the divisive first rent rebate scheme.
Unemployed workers' organisations
campaign on housing issues, with rent strikes and action against
evictions. Private tenants wage a prolonged rent strike in the East
End of London against high rents.
1945 - 1946
families occupy former army camps and empty homes from Yorkshire
to the South Coast in a wave of squatting. Squatters groups form
federations, calling for more affordable housing. A major council
house building programme is launched.
develop on the new council estates and new towns. National Association
of Tenants & Residents formed (NATR) in 1948.
campaign against rent increases and sell-offs. The Association of
London Estates is formed in 1957.
to raise rents to market levels and introduce rebate schemes. In
the London borough of St Pancras, 35 tenants associations join to
form the United Tenants Association and 1400 tenants go on rent
strike. Evictions led to protests outside the Town Hall in which
50 people were arrested and the Home Secretary banned marches in
the area for three months. Other London tenants groups go on rent
strike against private "Rachmanite" landlords.
The new Conservative
GLC brings in market rents and new tenants federations are set up
across London with a United Tenants Action Committee formed. A national
demonstration of tenants is held in Trafalgar Square against rent
increases. In Tower Hamlets, 2000 tenants lobby the council meeting.
By November, 11,000 London households were withholding rent. A demonstration
of 3000 tenants outside the Housing Minister's home in Hampstead
is held. An Anti-Eviction Committee organises a 700-strong flying
squad to act on threats of eviction. In the face of this action,
in November 1969, the government passes legislation limiting rent
1968 - 1973
A wave of tenant
activity takes place across the country in response to new market
rents, with rent strikes and new organisations set up from Exeter
to Glasgow. In Liverpool a rent strike lasts six months and wins
a small reduction in the rent. The Conservative government passes
the 1972 Housing Finance Act with its "fair" rents and
rebates, to build on action already taken by local councils. The
National Association of Tenants & Residents organises protests
against it. Over 80 rent strikes and tenant protests take place
across the country. Three Labour councils refuse to implement the
act and are surcharged.
1975 - 1976
10,000 to 50,000 organised squatters living in abandoned private
and public housing. Housing is a major issue for the "underground
press". Housing co-operatives formed. Homeless Persons Act
(1977) passed after long campaigns about homelessness.
Tenants Organisations (NTO) is formed along with tenants organisations
in Scotland and Wales, federations in the North East and South Wales.
Security of tenure for council tenants is included in the Labour
Housing Bill. Community workers from Community Development Projects
support the development of radical tenants groups. Tenants Charters
are negotiated in some areas. Anti-damp campaigns and other tenant
protest around high-rise and system-built housing.
in Walsall and Kirklees against large rent increases. A Conservative
government brings in the secure tenancy and the Right to Buy. Tenants
organisations go into decline and a national march and rally in
Wassail draws only 2000 people.
Flood of tenant
protests against Tenants Choice legislation. Anti-sell off and anti-Housing
Action Trust protests lead to formation of new tenants organisations.
Strong tenants federations (e.g. Sandwell and Kirklees) and tenant
management organisations (e.g. Belle Isle North in Leeds) developed.
Tenants in Walterton & Elgin use the Tenants Choice legislation
to prevent Conservative Westminster council from demolishing and
privatising their estate.
& Residents Federation (NTRF) set up.
rallies against compulsory competitive tendering of housing management.
against Conservative plans to speed up transfers.
Residents Organisation of England (TAROE) formed from merger of
NTRF and NTO. The new organisation wins a place on a government
with the trade union-led Defend Council Housing group to campaign
against large scale voluntary transfers. It also launches the Daylight
Robbery campaign against subsidy claw-back.
Participation Compacts come into force regulating tenant involvement
in council housing. A Housing Inspectorate is set up and acts to
ensure compliance with minimum standards of tenant participation
across social housing. The numbers of tenants associations rise,
although many landlords favour market research methods to consult
their "customers". At the same time, the housing transfer
programme speeds up under government incentives.
2000 - 2006
organisations and the trade union-backed Defend Council Housing
win some high profile anti-transfer battles. New Labour launches
Arms Length Management Organisations as an alternative to transfer.
These win the support of many tenants federations but transfers
also continue to win tenant backing. By 2006, the amount of housing
managed by Registered Social Landlords, including transfer organisations,
out-numbers council homes for the first time. Some major tenants
federations lose their funding as landlords switch to the less problematic
option of involving customers through market research. Regional
tenants federations are set up to mirror the government's new regional
structure of housing strategy and investment. TAROE begins work
on a National Tenants Assembly to unite tenants organisations.
2007 - 2009
comes under increasing pressure as the supply continues to fall
and government housing policy aims to encourage home ownership and
asset-based welfare on the back of economic growth. Regeneration
programmes adopt gentrification as a strategy to create mixed communities.
Half of all social housing grants goes to build low cost home ownership,
while housing associations have to cross-subsidise new social rented
housing by selling homes on the private market. A report by Prof.
John Hills questions the current aims of social housing, while the
increased rationing caused by shortage of supply leads to concentrations
of poverty on estates. The housing market crash reaffirms the role
of social housing as a safety net for home ownership and as a Keynesian
supply side subsidy but the attack continues and the inequalities
of home ownership go unscrutinised. The Tenants Services Authority
is set up as the new regulator for social housing and profit-making
companies are allowed to access government grant and become regulated
landlords. In keeping with this drive towards greater market involvement,
the tenant as consumer becomes central to regulation, and a National
Tenants Voice to champion tenant interests is set up.