Generation Rent, a London-based organisation focused on changing the way in which renting works, last month launched a Twitter campaign inviting renters to share their negative experiences with pictures and hashtags.
Using the hashtags #VentyourRent and #RantyourRent, the campaign quickly went viral, with Londoners sharing their renting horror stories and posting photographs that give details of their living situations.
Renters from across the capital vented their fury. One told of having to endure bed bugs and cockroaches to live in Mile End for £570 a month.
Another complained of having to pay £700 of rent in cash each month for a mouldy room which the landlord has so far refused to treat. Dan Wilson Craw, Policy and Communications Manager at Generation Rent explained to the East End Citizen the idea behind the campaign.
“The idea for the hashtag was to get London’s private renters thinking about their housing situation ahead of next week’s election,” he said.
“For the first time, housing is at the top of the agenda, and we want people to realise that the next mayor can start fixing the housing crisis.”
The borough of Tower Hamlets is widely regarded as bearing the brunt of the capital’s housing woes.
“East London is right at the heart of the London housing crisis,” said Wilson.
“Rents are rising rapidly and regeneration projects are taking place, and private tenants are not protected from either of these.
“Stronger rights for tenants would go a long way to stop communities being torn apart. We will put the pressure on whoever is elected to keep his promises.
“Much of their success depends on how much power they can take away from Westminster, so I hope we’ll be campaigning with the next mayor to get that power.”
What happens next in the campaign is down to London’s two million private renters, Wilson Craw insisted.
“We’ll continue gathering and sharing stories, and housing campaigners will be protesting against the government’s Housing Bill,” he said.
“But what happens next is really in the hands of London’s two million private renters, who form the biggest tenure in London.”
Residents who want to share their renting experiences can tweet their pictures using the hashtag #VentyourRent or #RantyourRent @genrentuk