Writing a ‘blog on the modest subject of domestic economy for “Renter Nomads” (private-sector renters who are forced to move frequently), I’m used to not-much-reaction when I post or tweet anything. Although #minimalism [sic] is in fashion and Marie Kondo has become some sort of superstar, not-buying isn’t THAT editorially attractive, is it?
The response to a tweet I sent on April 7 was therefore pretty extreme: 66 favourites and 84 shares at the time of writing this post. Perhaps nothing to many social media gurus, but orders of magnitude more reach than I have ever experienced.
Renter Nomads @RenterNomads Apr 7
Nice to see actual tenant running for LondonMayor: @SianBerry acknowledging sheer,gouging cost of housing precarity.
[The tweet included a link to The Guardian’s article: http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2016/apr/07/sian-berry-council-tenants-london-mayor-green-housing-crisis?%5D
Why was this particular tweet such clickbait? What did I mean by “sheer, gouging cost”?
Well, for a start, utilities and services cost more without long contracts; furniture may not fit; there are agents’ fees; doubled-up rent may be needed for a handover period; the deposit will probably need to be doubled up, too, to secure the new property before the old deposit is released…. None of these costs are refundable, and most are not avoidable.
Of course this is a scandal, or should be, and I wish I were a more political writer, with the analytical punch and impact of campaigners such as “Money Saving Expert” Martin Lewis, the Generation Rent group, Ripped Off Briton, Shelter and many others.
However, I am an amateur, and simply started writing this ‘blog because it was a tenant voice. I was “Bored of ergonomic ideas, efficiency tips and interior design for settled folk.” Tenants desire beauty and comfort, too, have sustainability concerns and problems with clutter and worries about how to pay for it all… yet have no agency to fix insulation, replace windows, install efficient appliances, paint and decorate!
My subject and my niche is a minimal and unsatisfying response to the precarity of renting in the private sector, and I know I will never reproduce the social media success of this clickbait phrase. However, my subject is a response, and a tenant voice, and I urge you to seek out others.
More importantly, though, please think about housing when you vote tomorrow, Thursday, May 5. The Guardian has compiled a guide:
Disclosure: Although this particular tweet was about an article on the Green candidate Siân Berry, all of the main four candidates have some form of housing policy, which The Guardian has summarised in the link above.