‘Vent Your Rent’ exposes bad treatment by landlords

The hashtag #VentYourRent is trending on Twitter as people expose their ill-treatment by landlords and call for better protections and an end to the housing crisis that has made them prey to exploitative property owners.

The hashtag was started by Generation Rent, an organization that works toward better protections for renters while facilitating networking and campaigning by the renters themselves. Designed to highlight the rental crisis faced by predominantly young and low-income people, the tag has exposed the extent of the problems faced by renters in the UK, as well as specific patterns of maltreatment by landlords.

Landlords who refuse to repair even dangerously unsafe structural problems seem terrifyingly common.

Likewise, people shared other safety violations, like an absence of fire alarms or telling a renter in a flat with a carbon monoxide leak just to “sleep with the windows open.”

Less essential—though still entirely necessary —repairs are also being put off or avoided entirely by landlords. Rats in the fridge will at least kill you more slowly than a carbon monoxide leak, but they’re far from frivolous.

And people have actually been evicted for making the repairs themselves after their landlords refused.

Revenge evictions in response to complaints, objections to rent increases or unreasonable behavior from a landlord are an overall problem. As are short notice evictions in general, enabled by Section 21 notices which allow a landlord to give just two months’ notice to their tenants.

Then there are the landlords who just let themselves into the property with no warning whenever they feel like it, or even allow their friends to, as in @6CylinderLTD’s terrifying experience, where three strange men let themselves into her flat for a “property inspection” while she was in the shower.

And who charge exorbitant amounts for unnecessary cleaning and repairs, or keep peoples’ deposits over it instead.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats hopped onto the tag.

Though the Conservative party are conspicuously absent.

Tying into the other reason that Generation Rent started #VentYourRent today: the deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming general election is tomorrow, and they want to make sure that everyone affected by the rent crisis can take their complaints to the ballot box on Dec. 12.

Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org