Renters urged to share stories of dodgy landlords and rising rents outside City Hall

Community union, Acorn says the event is ‘about holding the council to account’
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Renters in Bristol are being urged to share their stories of dodgy landlords and rising rents outside City Hall.

Community union, Acorn, which represents renters, is calling on tenants to give their views to a ‘Real Renting Commission’.

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In July, Acorn activists stormed a similar meeting at Bristol City Council, protesting against their exclusion from a council-run commission on housing.

The Real Renting Commission will be held on College Green outside City Hall tomorrow (September 28), from 5.30pm to 7pm.

Testimonies will be included in an Acorn report to be published at the same time as the council’s Living Rent Commission findings.

Ewan McLennan, head organiser at Acorn Bristol, said: “The idea is to hold a hearing or evidence session so that renters can stand up and give some of their stories and what they’ve faced at the hands of landlords. We’ll also be talking about what kind of things we can do to put an end to these problems.”

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The council’s Living Rent Commission, launched in July, is exploring solutions to the city’s housing crisis, like looking at rents and rent controls. However the commission faced criticism for excluding Acorn, but including two major groups representing landlords.

At the Real Renting Commission, Acorn will encourage renters to write down their testimonies of shoddy housing and problem landlords, on notes which will then be delivered to City Hall. They will also be included in an Acorn report on how the city’s rental crisis can be addressed, although it’s unclear when that will be published.

Mr McLennan added: “It is about holding the council to account and setting the record straight.

“It is sending a clear message to the council: if you want to genuinely hear from renters across the city, then you should do it in an open and transparent way — out in public and in the open, not behind closed doors.”

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