Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with The Property Shop on St James's Street. A tenant has been organising with SolFed after they were charged for repairs that the landlord was obligated to carry out.
Along with the tenant, Brighton SolFed wrote to The Property Shop on 18th October, explaining the issues and outlining options for redress. The Property Shop requested an extension on the one week deadline for a response, which Brighton SolFed granted, but The Property Shop still did not respond within that timeframe.
Consequently, along with the tenant, Brighton SolFed has begun a public dispute with The Property Shop. This began with a picket outside the branch at 5pm on Tuesday 31st October. This first action was met with strong public consensus, culminating with a number of former Property Shop tenants that were passing by sharing with us their previous negative experiences with this agency, one of whom - otherwise unrelated to our dispute - even joining us on the picket line in solidarity with the grievance and in frustration with the agency's practices.
With the support of Brighton SolFed, the tenant is demanding that the landlord return the £344 withheld from their deposit, along with the £60 contract fee they paid, as compensation for the distress of this situation. The tenants were left without a shower for a month, and the landlord is attempting to make deductions for maintenance that he was legally obliged to carry out, to ensure the working and maintenance of santiary facilities. As the tenant explained, 'the Property Shop have been really sneaky and unhelpful. They keep delaying every step of the dispute, they left us without a working shower for over a month, and they didn't tell me about charges until three months after I moved out, so I couldn't open a dispute through the deposit protection scheme. The whole thing is incredibly stressful and worrying. How many other people have they done this to?'
So far, The Property Shop have refused to acknowledge the problem. The problem for them is that SolFed does not hide disputes in administrative or judicial procedures. Our intention is to bring every dispute onto the streets. Not just because it is faster, cheaper and more effective, but also because it is the only way we can understand that each of us has the same problems. Through solidarity and direct action, ordinary people have the power to improve their lives.
An injury to one is an injury to all!