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RNU to launch Anti-Landlord campaign

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http://www.republicannetwork.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=285:rnu-to-launch-anti-landlord-campaign&catid=1:latest-news

 

RNU to launch Anti-Landlord campaign

 

 

Friday, 11 May 2012 14:43

Republican Network for Unity notes with increasing concern, the growing practice of what can only be described as extortionism, being carried out by private landlords in working class nationalist areas and beyond.

 

When considering average rents in the areas where we are active, it is clear to RNU that unscrupulous landlords are exploiting the shortage of social housing (a disgrace in itself) in order to demand even greater profit margins for themselves.

 

The extra charges imposed by landlords on vulnerable people mean that individuals and their families need to use their benefits (what is supposed to be the minimum amount of money as decreed by the British government needed to live on), effectively to top up the lifestyles of these opportunists in our midst.

 

Landlords here have bought into the politics of the greedy thought up by people like Margaret Thatcher, they should however understand that exploitation of working class people will always be resisted by revolutionary republicans in this country.

 

Many working class areas are now suffering chronic levels of child poverty of over 60% with an alarming number of schools reporting that children are arriving to class in the morning hungry.

 

RNU believe it is not a coincidence that these reports are emerging from the same communities in which landlords are asking unemployed families to dip into benefits which are provided to meet their daily living costs.

 

In 2012 it is no less than a national disgrace, that it has become culture for a privileged few to come into working class areas, buy off what were once social houses making worse the housing shortage of an already discriminated against community then attempt to cream a profit using the crass rules of a ‘free market’ economy on a homeless population.

 

We reiterate that housing is a right not a privilege, and that it is intolerable that working class families (already being penalised by cuts to welfare) can be further plunged into despair and want by this most heartless of practices.

 

RNU intends in the coming months to launch an effective and if needs be militant campaign aimed at ending this practice of landlord extortionism.

 

Levels of housing benefit provided to individuals and families reflect the amount which the state believes is reasonable to secure for them accommodation; landlords must also be forced to accept these amounts and no more.

 

This will allow vulnerable families a chance to try and gain a decent standard of living for themselves, unhindered by the spectre of private landlordism.

 

We also intend to resist attempts by the Stormont/Tory governments to cut housing benefit on Social housing, and encourage those deemed to be living in a house with ‘too many rooms’ to organise against these attempts to force you from your homes.

 

 

[EDIT - Lugh Ildánach] I tried to quote from the message, but ended up deleting it instead. I think I have the original content back up now

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Landlords are greedy leeches, Ive nothing but contempt for them, and letting agents? Satans spawn.

 

The renting game is similar to taking heroin, for a small fix your left hopeless, unable to climb out of bad sitiation, all the while filling some greedy landlords pockets

 

The most urgent issue regards landlordism is the really low ones who rent squalid bedsits not fit to house rats, yet prey on the mosthelpless among us such as those with severe mental illness, immigrants and thode with addiction

issues

The landlords know the pittance these poor individuals get from the state only affords them residence in their crappy dwellings.

 

It has to end especially given hundreds of sparkling new houses are lying empty

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Well done RNU!!! Great to see you's taking thisstance on the scumbags. I think RNU are heading in the right direction.

 

One thing I think is that sone sort of front needs to be set up to tackle housing issues. Because I there are now the IRSP and RNU (maybe others) involved in housing campaigns at the mo and they would be a lot stronger joined together!

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Well done RNU!!! Great to see you's taking thisstance on the scumbags. I think RNU are heading in the right direction.

 

One thing I think is that sone sort of front needs to be set up to tackle housing issues. Because I there are now the IRSP and RNU (maybe others) involved in housing campaigns at the mo and they would be a lot stronger joined together!

 

To combat landlordsim there definitely needs to be a joint operation on this issue!

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Fucking cunt! Who are these property people crowd? Are they shinner linked? Not trying to troll but I know they have links to some landlord and property agency.

 

Not too sure a chara, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it was!

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Guest Connolly

I think we need to make some distinctions here between what sort of landlords we are talking about. My cuz bought a 3 bed house in the early 2000's wll outside Dublin and got a mortgage for it. Her family expanded to 6 and so she got another mortgage on a 4 bedroom house not so far way. She's full-time at home and her husband is an electrician (quite precarious work). Both houses are in negative equity and they are struggling to pay both. She has the 3 bed rented.

 

Her situation is complex, and so are many many others who found themselves with more than one property due to the lending practices of the banks. Banks often will not let you sell a house that is in negative equity, and so on.

 

Unless we want to go demonising many ordinary people - electricians and full-time mums - we need to make some distinctions about who we are talking about as "landlords".

 

They also use the services of a property management agency.

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I think we need to make some distinctions here between what sort of landlords we are talking about. My cuz bought a 3 bed house in the early 2000's wll outside Dublin and got a mortgage for it. Her family expanded to 6 and so she got another mortgage on a 4 bedroom house not so far way. She's full-time at home and her husband is an electrician (quite precarious work). Both houses are in negative equity and they are struggling to pay both. She has the 3 bed rented.

 

Her situation is complex, and so are many many others who found themselves with more than one property due to the lending practices of the banks. Banks often will not let you sell a house that is in negative equity, and so on.

 

Unless we want to go demonising many ordinary people - electricians and full-time mums - we need to make some distinctions about who we are talking about as "landlords".

 

They also use the services of a property management agency.

 

Sadly, it is often the amature landlords, i.e. landlords who have only one or two homes for rent, that are the worst for tenants to have to deal with. I have heard some real horror stories about such people. I hope we will soon get to the point when people just start "squatting" these homes-for-rent. Of course, that will mean the likes of your cousin will loose her second house - but, the upside is that she will also loose her second mortgage.

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While there is clearly a distinction in the degree someone becomes involved in landlordism, it is in degree only. Landlordism in all its forms is reprehensible, no matter how nice or ordinary the person involved is. Many things in capitalist society are this way. Ordinary people often get caught up in reprehensible activity, particularly when it is encouraged by the State. There are nice bosses, there are nice shop owners, there are even nice drug dealers out there.

 

I haven't met one yet, but I don't rule out the possibility of a nice landlord out there. I mean, I'm sure they are nice in their personal lives, but in all my dealings with landlords over the years, there hasn't been one who when push came to shove didn't have menace in their voice when I told them that my rent was late, or when I suggested that they should use my deposit as the last month's rent despite this being a breach of contract. Just like the drug dealer who will be nice to you, until you can't pay your tab, or the smiling shop owner who would happily beat the shit out of you if you stole a loaf of overpriced bread from his shop. This is the nature of property. It turns ordinary people against their fellow man, it turns ordinary people into capitalists, into landlords.

 

If we limit our criticism to simply those at the top of the chain of landlordism, then we suggest that it is possible to be a nice landlord, as if it can be nice to extract rent from a tenant who simply desires a roof over his head. Those "innocent" landlords should be made aware that we see their activity for what it is, the profitting from the human need for housing, and that it is not acceptable, in any form.

 

Of course there should be compassion, and a recognition of the complexity of people's lives that leads them to where they are, but the kindest thing that anyone could do to a landlord is to remove the burden of property ownership from their shoulders. The system of landlordism is the target. Those who, for whatever reason, have found themselves mixed up in it are not necessarily the target. They should only become targets themselves, as individuals, if they decide to defend that system. It is our job to both give people a choice to reject landlordism, and to stand up to those who reject that choice. But really, how many landlords would not defend their right to rent, or to the other rights that capitalism gives to the "owner" of property?

 

I would fully support any campaign agaisnt landlords, but really, what are RNU doing here apart from asking the most cruel landlords to be a little nicer. Its defensive action at best, but it does nothing to really challenge landlordism at its source. They don't even have a land nationalisation policy. Are they against landlordism in general, or, like so many of the Republican groups, simply adopting populist left wing speak without any concrete left wing politics? Its not that long since we heard the same talk from PSF, how long before today's RNU are tomorrow's Tom McFeelys. Without a proper political analysis of this problem, I'd say that result is inevitable.

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RNU intends in the coming months to launch an effective and if needs be militant campaign aimed at ending this practice of landlord extortionism. Levels of housing benefit provided to individuals and families reflect the amount which the state believes is reasonable to secure for them accommodation; landlords must also be forced to accept these amounts and no more.

 

This will allow vulnerable families a chance to try and gain a decent standard of living for themselves, unhindered by the spectre of private landlordism. We also intend to resist attempts by the Stormont/Tory governments to cut housing benefit on Social housing, and encourage those deemed to be living in a house with ‘too many rooms’ to organise against these attempts to force you from your homes.

 

By the looks of it, this statement was drafted from a northern perspective, but the issue is just as acute in Dublin, particularly given the cuts in January to Rent Supplement levels. I actually got a letter in the door on Friday asking me to ask my landlord to reduce my rent to below the new limits, with the threat that if I didn't then I would be asked to move to cheaper accommodation. But they know the reality, that people don't want to move, and that they will pay the extra from their own dole, even if this is technically fraud and ends up impoverishing them more. Luckily I already negotiated my rent down a couple of years ago when landlords were desperate to secure tenants, and it is below the new limits already, but most people will not have had this luxury. I have heard particularly bad things about Bray, where the limits were slashed by a couple of hundred euro. No landlord is going to take that kind of cut, and no family can afford the drop in income. There is a real risk of homelessness increasing as a result of these changes.

 

The PRTB is the body set up by the 26 County State to monitor rent limits and impose market rent levels on landlords, but they have so far failed to intervene, not surprising given that they are governed by market economics. It is time that organisations stepped up to the mark. Hopefully we'll see the RNU campaign in the South as well.

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Guest Connolly

Sadly, it is often the amature landlords, i.e. landlords who have only one or two homes for rent, that are the worst for tenants to have to deal with. I have heard some real horror stories about such people.

 

Of course, because landlords, as awful as that term sounds, must have a character assessment because they must be so much more awful than the likes of trades men, and such people. Oh wait...

 

I hope we will soon get to the point when people just start "squatting" these homes-for-rent. Of course, that will mean the likes of your cousin will loose her second house - but, the upside is that she will also loose her second mortgage.

 

And until that day arrives when there is a mass squatting of houses, lets demonise people with second homes with second mortgages. Because, well, they are a different class of people arnt they.

 

> The sell their labour for a wage to survive type people.

 

Its shooting oneself in the foot to target such people. How many people mortgaged a property during the boom, and who now have no job and are living with their parents while they rent out their property to pay the mortgage? - fucking thousands. The same with couples who got a joint mortgage and split up, and then rent to pay that mortgage.

 

Tens of thousands of Irish people bought properties abroad aswell during the boom (50% of whom are now trying to sell) and who have them rented to pay off debt.

 

It is complete airy fairy stuff to demonise small time landlords and out of touch with reality.

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Guest Connolly

If we limit our criticism to simply those at the top of the chain of landlordism, then we suggest that it is possible to be a nice landlord, as if it can be nice to extract rent from a tenant who simply desires a roof over his head. Those "innocent" landlords should be made aware that we see their activity for what it is, the profitting from the human need for housing, and that it is not acceptable, in any form.

 

Then there may aswell be a campaign against every shop in the country in that case since they are profiting from the need for people to have food and clothes. Farmers aswell. Truck companies aswell (profiting from the transport of the food). And every conceivable economic activity in which someone profits from basic human needs.

 

Of course, the difference with renting property is that it is a game where very ordinary people found themselves partaking. Trademen, unemployed, elderly couples trying to have some security for the future. and so forth.

 

It is ridiculous to target and demonise such people. If landlords are going to be targetted, target the big time landlords. Not people strugging to survive.

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I have to echo the sentiments of some posters above, the average Joe Soap who gets ahead of themselves and ends up renting out a property as means of gaining extra income or being too stubborn to call it quits and give up the mortage,

I find these type of landlords to be the most greedy, troublesome chancers going, their main problem being they rarely play by the rules.

Ive had alot of experience with them and sad to say the letting agencies are far more safe and secure to deal with.

 

For one their uncompromising in all aspects, their like drug dealers who can put up price when they feel, intimidate you as they know theyve got what you desperately need.

 

I feel like saying sometimes why in name of god are you keeping the charade of struggling to pay a crippling mortage through renting, are you too proud or too vain to give up your 'I own more then one house' mentality?

 

Ive no sympathy for them, as I own no property, have children and responsibilites to look after on tight money and I get by and am content enough.

 

I think as Socialists we cannot compromise on landlordism no matter how big or small the fish in the pond. landlordism is abhorent to our fundemental worldview, no exceptions.

 

The sympathy should lay with the tenants entirely, not landlord crocadile tears.

 

Give me counci house anyday, more dignity in it then slavish morgatages or private renting.

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Guest Connolly

I have to echo the sentiments of some posters above, the average Joe Soap who gets ahead of themselves and ends up renting out a property as means of gaining extra income or being too stubborn to call it quits and give up the mortage.

 

It is not as simple as that. My cuz is not allowed sell "her" second house as it is in negative equity. To default/give up payment would mean she could lose both her family home and the second home as both are with the same bank. She would love to get rid of the second home.

 

The second home is rented to a doctor, by the way. Who earns multitudes of what an electrician does.

 

And as for exploitation. It is not as if she is gaining anything, paying back many hundreds of thousands for a home not worth anywhere near what she paid for it.

 

Where does the exploitation come into it?

 

The easy credit given out by the banks and the subsequent deflation in propert prices complicates "landlordism" immensely. Things are not black and white as they may have been in the past, and it is highly simplistic to believe otherwise.

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Guest Connolly
Ive no sympathy for them, as I own no property, have children and responsibilites to look after on tight money and I get by and am content enough.

 

Content enough.

 

We live in an incredibley precarious society. Property was (is) seen as a secure investment for the future. To have somthing to fall back on. It is only natural that people will make decisions to attempt to gain some economic security and invest whatever they have in something they believed would maintain value. This is why so many ordinary people purchased property abroad - in the belief it was a secure investment.

 

How can one be content approaching retirement, or in retirement, when in a situation of economic precariousness.

 

The struggle for socialism is not a blame game. It is not begrudgery. It is not a personal attack on the bourgeoisie or the rich.

 

It is an attack on the system of social relations which govern why people make the decisions they do.

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If it is not a personal attack, then you have to attack the institution, from its root to the top. By saying that some landlords are ordinary, you are making it personal, ie depending on the personal circumstances of the individual, as opposed to analysing the system itself.

 

How you attack that institution will be different for those who are coerced and bribed into landlordism, as opposed to those who excessively abuse the system, but there cannot be any equivocation about the institution itself. There are hard questions to answer, particularly for those "ordinary" people who have bought into capitalism. By buying into capitalism, they have essentially altered their class allegiances.

 

That doesn't mean that they are suddenly nasty people, but it does bring them into contradiction with the vast majority of people, who are not landlords. It particularly brings them into contradiction with those people who find themselves as tenants. Ultimately, I believe that their interests as a class are the same as mine, but only through giving up their claim to property. This is not an easy question, particulaly for the individuals themselves.

 

There are of course many more obvious targets, but any campaign against landlordism needs to at the very least, start the education of the petit landord class, and spread the word that their only redemption is through severing their allegiance with the institution of landlordism

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Guest Connolly
If it is not a personal attack, then you have to attack the institution, from its root to the top. By saying that some landlords are ordinary, you are making it personal,

 

Ordinary, as in, Working Class.

 

Proletariat.

 

You try live off renting a one bed apartment or a 4 bedroom house in Cavan. Hardly a means of production now is it. There is more MOP in the social welfare.

 

"ordinary" people who have bought into capitalism.

 

Yes, pretty much the entire country. Hence socialism is pretty unpopular at the moment.

 

But demonising proletarians and calling them scum who "buy" into capitalism is incredibly counterproductive. Sub-cultural even.

 

By buying into capitalism, they have essentially altered their class allegiances.

 

And what percentage of the population have not bought into capitalism?

 

Class is not defined by "alligience". It is defined by ones economic relationship.

 

Renting a second property is hardly a gold rush. You'd get more on the social welfare in most instances.

 

but it does bring them into contradiction with the vast majority of people, who are not landlords.

 

How so?

 

IfI want to get an extension built onto my house and I hire a tradesmen/builder, do I not have a conflict of interest to that builder?

 

If I get an electrician to fix a fuse box. Do I not have a conflict of interest with that person?

 

It particularly brings them into contradiction with those people who find themselves as tenants.

 

There are contradictions right throughout the system as pointed out above.

 

Indeed, a person who works and pays income tax is in contradiction to a person who lives off social welfare. Shall we start creating further divisions there?

 

This demonising of small time landlords is divisionary and a race to the bottom.

 

Cheap credt has transformed the nature of landlordism.

 

Ultimately, I believe that their interests as a class are the same as mine, but only through giving up their claim to property.

 

Not at all. You are targeting some of the worst off in society.

 

You think that if someone like this: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056198493

 

Starts renting out their property they all of a sudden become the enemy?

 

Come off it like.

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A chara, I feel that you are still personalising the argument.

 

I am not saying that they are personally our enemies, but their economic relationship (a much better term than allegiance, definitely) with the system is very different to those who do not let out property for money.

 

How exactly is my economic relationship as a tenant any different when I am dealing with a "working class" landlord or a slumlord? At the end of the day, if I can't pay my rent, I am out on the street, unless the landlord choses not to defend their assumed rights as a landlord.

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Yes, pretty much the entire country. Hence socialism is pretty unpopular at the moment.

 

But demonising proletarians and calling them scum who "buy" into capitalism is incredibly counterproductive. Sub-cultural even.

 

 

I think perhaps you have taken me up wrong. I don't think that they are scum. The institution is reprehensible. We should make all endeavours to help people out of such relationships of exploitation and build true relationships of solidarity. But that is not possible while such people maintain their "right" to eject another human being from their home.

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Guest Connolly

A chara, I feel that you are still personalising the argument.

 

I am not saying that they are personally our enemies, but their economic relationship (a much better term than allegiance, definitely) with the system is very different to those who do not let out property for money.

 

How exactly is my economic relationship as a tenant any different when I am dealing with a "working class" landlord or a slumlord? At the end of the day, if I can't pay my rent, I am out on the street, unless the landlord choses not to defend their assumed rights as a landlord.

 

But there are economic contradictions right throughout the system. taxi drivers, tradesmen and so forth are self employed and have contradictory interests to the rest of the population.

 

People on social welfare have contradictory interests to people who pay income tax. Indeed, im sure I could pull a few contradictions from immigrants entering the country aswell.

 

I dont see what the point is in emphaising such contradictions. It would be counterproductive.

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There is an whole system of propaganda trying to normalise and legitimise landlordism and play down the contradictions. It is only when the contradictions are seen for what they are can they be challenged. How do you challenge landlordism if you're not prepared to say to your cousin that she has no right to her second house?

 

I don't think we do any good calling her scum, but if she is to get out of the economic relationship that she finds herself in, she has to be aware of the nature of that relationship.

 

The scum label is reserved for those landlords who fully appreciate the relationship that they are in, and who nevertheless defend their position, indeed who press home their advantage for maximum profit. That is who RNU appear to be targetting, but unless the whole system of landlordism is challenged, then its like the shooting of individual drug dealers, completely useless and counterproductive. New scum will simply rise to the top.

 

We should explore ways of helping people out of these relationships. We cannot criticise them if we do not at least do that, but we cannot put our heads in the sand and pretend that their landlordism is not fundamentally unacceptable.

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