Keyworkers Condemn One Housing 40% Rent Hike
Keyworkers including teachers and nurses, all residents of One Housing Group (OHG), have condemned the organisation's threat to raise rents by 40%.
Many are deeply concerned that they cannot meet such rent increases, particularly after successive years of pay freezes which have reduced their earnings in real terms. Low cost housing is not available in the area so the families fear eviction if they fall behind.
In response to these concerns, the workers have been told that if they can't pay, they can move out of London, quite ignoring the disruption to the families' networks, schooling of children, healthcare, not to mention the increased cost of travel to work.
The threat will affect around 50 households in the London Borough of Newham, with between 100-150 residents.
OHG's recently departed chief executive, Mick Sweeney (pictured on the left with Chair Anthony Mayer), received just under £230,000 per annum in pay, and a bonus of almost £35,000 in 2016.
Residents have been informed that the reason for the rent increase is to allow One Housing (OHG) to invest in development and that rent levels remain within the 'affordable housing' limit of 80% of market rate. The residents have been quick to point out that not only is this unaffordable, but their rent rises will have the effect of pushing up average rents in the area. The move will therefore have a wider impact on renters in their own and local housing associations in their area.
A vibrant campaign is now developing with residents drawing in support from other tenants, trade unions and campaign bodies.