November 29, 2014

These kind of real estate developers are the real scum of the earth. You can see the effects in every major city, it's gotten to the point where only doctors, lawyers, CPAs and Wall St. brokers can afford to live there. Places like New York City and San Francisco are only the leading edge of this movement to turn our urban centers into lifestyle playgrounds for the rich. Cheers to Russell Brand for taking up the cause:

Tenants of the New Era housing estate in east London are taking their fight against rent rises of up to 25% to the US.

On Thursday, Benyon Estate, the property company controlled by millionaire Tory MP Richard Benyon, announced that protests by tenants had convinced it to sell its stake in the consortium that owns the Hoxton flats back to the landlord, Hoxton Regeneration Limited.

Built by a charitable trust in the mid-1930s, the redbrick square has provided homes to local working people at affordable rents. Some residents have lived there for 70 years.

In March, however, the flats were bought with funds controlled by Westbrook Partners, an American investment group. In July, tenants were pressured to sign contacts increasing their rent by up to 25% with just two weeks’ notice. They say those who protested were told they could be given contracts demanding rent at the market rate, which in some cases would mean an increase of 400%.

“Pensioners who have never been in debt in their lives are now having to borrow money they don’t have just to pay these rents while other residents are having to work all the extra hours they can just to pay these rents,” said Danielle Molinari, vice-chair of the New Era Tenants Association. “These rents are more than many of our entire take-home pay.”

The Guardian has established that all the directors of Hoxton Regeneration Limited are also senior members of Westbrook Partners, including Mark Donnor, a chief principal at Westbrook, David Collard, vice-president and counsel of Westbrook, and Kashif Zahid Sheikh, managing principal and general counsel at Westbrook.

“Now Benyon has pulled out, it’s Westbrook we’re going for. We will give them the hell we gave Benyon,” said Molinari.

“They’ve been completely faceless in this battle so far but they don’t scare us,” added Molinari. “We are not backing down in our fight for affordable rent. This is a massive issue: we want to highlight how private landlords are pushing Londoners out of London all over the city.

“London is reaching a crisis point: there are going to be no Londoners left here. Living in this city shouldn’t only be something the rich can afford. This is a city for everybody,” she said.

My area of the city is filling up with NYC refugees, who can't afford the high rents there. But now they're driving up rents here! People shouldn't have to pack up every ten years and chase cheaper rents elsewhere. We need a national housing policy, and we have to kick out all the Republicans if we want one.

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