Tag Archives: Foxtons

Sell! Sell! Sell! Join The Fuck Parade And Let’s Burst The London Housing Bubble

fuck-parade4

London is currently a giant building site.  Wherever you go new developments, in identikit glass and steel, snake up towards the skies, blotting the light, and the life, out of the capital.

Nobody normal can afford to live in these so-called luxury apartments – so-called because they are being built on the cheap as quickly as possible.  You wouldn’t know that from the price however – even modest flats in the poshest postcodes can cost a million pounds or more.  According to the Financial Times there are around 50,000 properties planned or under construction in this price range as every last brick in the city is turned into an investment opportunity.  The losses to the capital’s history and culture are incalcuable.  The end of Tin Pan Alley, once the heart of London’s music industry.  The destruction of Soho’s gay scene.  Half of Camden Market flogged off to a dodgy developer to build high price flats.  London’s skyline damaged beyind repair.  And, most tragically of all, the mass social cleansing of every working class area of London. Pubs, markets, community centres and libraries all gone to make way for the global super rich.  If you are on a low or even moderate income, and stuck in the cut-throat private sector, then you’ve probably left already.  If you are in social housing, hold tight, they are coming for the council estates as well.

But there are signs that the feeding frenzy is coming to an end.  There may well be 50,000 high value properties on the way, but as the FT also points out, just 3,900 homes costing more than £1m were sold in central London in 2014.  The villains at Foxton’s have recently announced falling profits whilst financial experts are warning openly of a crash.  And the Office for National Statistics recently revised how house price statistics are calculated which resulted in a shock fall in London’s prices between January and February this year.

Now is the time to send a message to every pampered hipster, spiv banker, property developer and global billionaire that we do not want you in our fucking city.  Let’s crash their party and their market.  Rage against horrifying inequality in the capital grows ever fiercer and it is the rich who are becoming the targets.  There have always been consequences when the decadence of the upper classes becomes too visible or obscene, and there is an obscenity taking place in London right now.  It’s time to make them feel unwelcome.  To let them be the frightened ones for a change.  To take the class war to their fucking front doors just like they have done to us.  The battle of the capital is just getting started.  Don’t be late.

The fourth London Fuck Parade will take place on May 1st.  This boisterous anti-gentrification street party made headlines around the world last time.  The parade starts at One Commercial Street, Aldgate East, London E1 7PT at 6pm.  For the latest news visit the website at: https://fuckparade.wordpress.com/

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Brixton Rises Up As Rage Against The Rich Explodes Across The Capital

reclaim-brixton1On the Sunday Politics show yesterday Labour’s Tessa Jowell admitted that her party’s proposed three year tenancies are voluntary.  Tenants will be able to ‘negotiate’ a three year contract but landlords will be under no obligation to provide one.

What a fucking joke, and one that shows the Labour Party are every bit as out of touch as the chinless toffs they pretend to oppose.  According to one property firm there are currently 5 tenants chasing each private rental property on the market across the UK and in London that jumps to 8 people desperately competing for every home.  If Jowell thinks that tenants have any bargaining power at all when the odds are so heavily stacked against them then she is living in a dream world – or at least a world where she doesn’t ever have to worry about having no home.

When one of our most basic human needs, like a securing a place to live, is an impossibility for millions of people then society has broken down.  Every measure of homelessness is rising whilst those in both the private and social rented sector are facing eye-watering rent increases.  Private sector tenants can be evicted on a whim by landlords with just two month’s notice.  There will be no homes at all for the millions of children growing up in London and other larger cities where housing demand is at its greatest.

It is in this context that upmarket estate agents Foxtons getting their windows stoved in at Saturday’s Reclaim Brixton protest should be viewed.  This was not an act of mindless violence as some sections of the media have claimed.  Nobody got hurt.  Foxtons was closed for the day in case anybody was worrying about estate agents cowering behind their desks as their office was ransacked – as if anyone would worry about that.  This was a fucking intervention.  Few things are more symbolic of a housing market designed for profit, not people, than the leeches at Foxtons.

Thousands of people were out onto the streets in Brixton on Saturday for one of London’s biggest ever anti-gentrification protests.  At one point hundreds of people mobbed the town hall with many fighting past police lines to gain entrance to the building.  Traffic was brought to a standstill as people danced in the streets to a soundsystem taking over the road for several hours.  A march through Brixton led by London Black Revs was received with cheers and applause as it passed the railway arches where long standing local businesses have just been told they face closure.  Brixton Village, once a well loved part of Brixton Market and now an ethnically cleansed yuppy dominated enclave of over-priced bars and restaurants, was briefly occupied.  Even the police station was attacked.  And the Jobcentre got their window broken.

The mood was angry and defiant, but positive.  Reclaim Brixton followed the hugely successful March for the Homeless just two weeks ago and the mass action at the vile Property Developer’s awards last week.  At every housing protest the number of people attending is growing.  London has had enough.

One of the reasons that London’s housing market has turned into a licence to print money for the global super rich is that the city has what investors judge to be a favourable political climate towards the very wealthy.  Clowns like Boris have welcomed the influx of luxury developments with open arms.  London’s paper, the Evening Standard fawns over the rich, running pieces on divorce settlements amongst Chelsea millionaires or banker’s boardroom squabbles as if they were real proper news.  Two-bit confidence tricksters peddling get rich quick schemes like Grant Shapps are hailed as wealth creators by their fellow politicians.  And Labour’s bogus housing policies show that should they be elected then it will still be business as usual for the corporate vandals ransacking the capital.

But the mood is changing.  People are fucking sick of the rich and they are starting to show it.  What happened in Brixton – and is happening on estates across London where tenants are taking direct action to protect their homes – is just the beginning.  When people have little left to lose they will fight fucking hard.  Be ready, and be out on the streets, because political change can happen in a heartbeat.

Class War are holding a Fuck Parade on mayday in protest at the Poor Doors in the luxury tower block at 1 Commercial Street London E1.  Please spread the word and join/share the facebook page.

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Are Landlords Breaking The Law When They Demand No DSS?

Trying to find a place to live when you are on benefits can be near impossible.  Landlords already demand huge deposits, which few benefit claimants can afford.  Even then, claimants have to find a landlord who will accept Housing Benefit or  face being forced to lie about their financial circumstances.

This is one of the main drivers of homelessness. If you are unemployed, or on a low wage, and have no savings, it is near impossible to secure private rented accommodation.  Don’t expect the Council to help.  Unless you have children or can jump through the ever increasing number of hoops which means your Local Authority deems you ‘vulnerable’, then they are under no obligation to offer any help at all with housing..

The ubiquitous phrase No DSS is displayed in the windows of many Estate Agents and refers to their refusal to house benefit claimants.  Foxtons, one of London’s largest estate agents, on a quick phone call to their main number, say they will only accept benefit claimants in Guildford, Woking or Stratford, but not their swanky central London pads.  This includes, according to the person on the end of the phone at least, people claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a non means tested disability benefit available to those in and out of work alike.  A call to a local Foxtons Office in Dulwich asking the same question brings the same answer.  They will not accept any tenants on benefits of any kind.

The refusal to accept DLA may simply be down to a mistake by their agents on the end of the phone.  Or it may mean that Foxtons will not accept disabled tenants in Central London.  It seems clear that anyone on an out of work health related benefit, such as Employment Support Allowance (ESA), would be wasting their time ringing Foxtons in the hope of securing a roof over their heads.

The phrase ‘No DSS’ is somewhat ludicrous since the DSS, the old Department of Social Security, doesn’t even exist anymore.  It is generally used as a euphemism to mean no-one on benefits at all.  This can be interpreted to mean someone on a low wage who qualifies for a Housing Benefit top up, as well as anyone on DLA, ESA, Income Support, Pension Credit or the unemployment benefit Job Seekers Allowance.

Indirect discrimination, in reference to disability, is defined in the Equalities Act as:

(1)A person (A) discriminates against a disabled person (B) if—
(a)A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B’s disability, and
(b)A cannot show that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

It is unlikely that the Courts would consider preventing disabled people from accessing housing as a legitimate aim.  This begs the question of whether the phrase ‘No DSS’ is a legal demand for landlords to make.

Private sector tenants have been so worn down by the erosion of tenants rights that this is not a matter which has drawn much scrutiny.  A blog on The Guardian last year posed the question:  Do ‘No DSS’ and ‘No students’ notices fall foul of the Equality Act?

On the question of students, and most people on Job Seekers Allowance, it seems that landlords are acting legally, if immorally, when they discriminate against them.  However for those on disability benefit the situation is not quite so clear.  According to The Guardian (which is checked by lawyers and stuff):

“As I have said, I am assuming that placebobutton considers that refusing to let premises to benefit claimants will be indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of disability because disabled people are more likely to be out of or unable to work and therefore in receipt of social security benefits. I don’t know whether this is indeed the case, but statistics to this effect will be necessary if someone is going to show that disabled people are put at a particular disadvantage by this criterion. If statistics can be produced which show that disabled people are significantly more likely to be on benefits than people who are not disabled, then unless a landlord or estate agent can show that refusing to let to benefit claimants is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim – and it is hard to see what such a legitimate aim might be – he/she will fall foul of the Equality Act.”

There are around 6 million disabled people in the UK.  Over half are claiming DLA.  Around a third are likely to be on ESA, the benefit which is for people unable to work because of sickness or disability.  A significant number of disabled people will also now be on Job Seekers Allowance, particularly after the Atos holocaust which has seen hundreds of thousands of disabled people stripped of health benefits.

No-one who is not disabled is claiming DLA (despite what this Government may pretend).  It seems pretty clear that discriminating against someone on the grounds they are claiming DLA is therefore illegal.  If it is really Foxtons’ policy not to accept anyone on any disability benefits then they are probably breaking the law.  This is no real surprise.  Foxtons are scum.

The definition of disability given in the Equalities Act may not apply exactly to everyone on DLA or ESA, and obviously many people on Job Seekers Allowance are not disabled.  But the evidence suggests that of the 6 million disabled people in the UK, most are on some form of benefit, and around a third are on an out of work benefit.

As a third of the non-disabled workforce aren’t on benefits, it is therefore easy to show that yes, disabled people are more likely to be on benefits than non-disabled people.  If The Guardian is correct then  it does seem that the phrase ‘No DSS’ is illegal.

Perhaps it is time to turn our attention to the unpleasant practices of money grabbing landlords as the housing crisis bites?

You can call Foxtons to question them in detail about their policies towards disabled people on benefits on: 0800 369 8667.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid