The Rise of Tenants' Associations: Power and Resistance in a Time of Crisis

Authors: Melissa Fielding*, University of Cambridge
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: housing, activism, tenant, regional, governance
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 25
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In a climate of depleted social housing stock, poor housing conditions and continually high rental costs, tenants’ rights have come to the fore in recent housing activist discourse. This pervasive injustice has led to the rise in nonprofit organisations which aim to equip renters with the knowledge to secure and maintain safe, decent and affordable tenancies.

This paper looks at the wider context of tenants’ rights in the UK, exploring how tenants’ associations both preempt and respond to varying degrees of crisis. I argue that tenant associations are an effective way of mobilising against current forms of neoliberal governance. They are however, subjected to socio-political practices of neglect and indifference which are built into the fabric of the housing system. Using social activist and critical race theory, I address the potential power of the tenants’ association, calling for an increase in tenant formations that seek to address housing injustice from the bottom-up.

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