What is Brighton Solidarity Federation Housing Union?

Brighton Solidarity Federation Housing Union is a group of people working together to improve our living conditions in the here and now. We're not legal experts or housing specialists - we're just ordinary people who want to improve our housing situations. We want to build a strong movement so that together we can challenge the extortionate rents and agency fees, and use direct action and self-organisation to put a stop to the scams, swindles and tricks of landlords and letting agents. We started our Housing Union in June 2017, because of the poor living conditions, rising rents, rip off agency fees, unsuitable, unsafe, or overcrowded accommodation, indifference from landlords, harassment, eviction, or often, a combination of these factors, in Brighton.

What do you do?

We support one another to take action to improve our housing situations in the here and now. This might mean helping each other to write emails to our unresponsive landlords; it might mean picketing a letting agency because they've stolen our deposit. We work from the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and direct action, which mean:

Solidarity: As individuals we are relatively powerless in the face of bosses, bureaucrats and the state, but when we act collectively across all boundaries of race, gender, nationality the tables are turned.

Direct action: We do not make appeals to political or economic representatives to act on our behalf, but organise to get the things we want for ourselves.

Self-organisation: When we take control of our own struggles we both learn how to act without bosses or leaders and ensure we can’t be sold out or demobilised from above.

Issues we have commonly faced are: deductions to our deposits, poor quality accommodation, and landlords taking ages - or not bothering - to do important repairs.

Consequently, we are currently running:

  • a campaign against deposit theft
  • a campaign to improve damp and mouldy accommodation
  • a campaign where tenants support one another to edit the inventories for their houses and flats when they move in 

You can read more about these in the campaigns section of the site.

What are my rights as a tenant?

You can find out about your rights as a tenant in the tabs at the top of this page. We have put together information we have found useful as tenants in these various different situations, including template letters to help you state your rights, covering the following:

I'm in a difficult situation with my landlord and I want to do something about it but I'm scared. Can you help?

We know that standing up to your letting agency or landlord can be stressful. They hold a lot of power over our lives, and they often treat our serious concerns and issues as if they are little more than an annoyance. In our experience, it's helpful to know our rights, but it's only through the solidarity and encouragement of others that we've been able to properly assert them. If you're feeling concerned about communicating with your landlord or letting agency, you can get in touch with us for some support and practical solidarity at:

Email: housing@brightonsolfed.org.uk

Text: 07427239960

Join: the Brighton SolFed Housing Union Facebook Group

We also run a drop-in on the final Sunday of each month, where you can come along and talk with us about your housing problem, from 2.15-3.30pm, at the Phoenix Centre in Brighton, BN2 9ND.

Contact Housing Union