No Evictions - Fair Rent - No Retaliation

We are a group of tenants in the 170 flats administered by Tower Quay around Somerford Grove in Hackney, East London. After many of us lost income during the pandemic we wrote a letter to Tower Quay and our landlord on 30 March 2020. We asked them to work with us alongside the London Renters Union to help keep tenants safe and secure during the worldwide crisis. 109 of us signed this letter.

Their response was so incredibly out of touch that the Guardian, Hackney Gazette, Daily Mail, Metro, Independent and Vice wrote articles about us. This has ignited national outrage - the government asking landlords to show "compassion" is not enough: action is needed to secure our rights to safe and healthy homes.

Since the media attention, there have been attempts to intimidate and divide us, and Tower Quay have refused all our requests and refused to meet. Whether you have lost income or not, we are all rightly worried about the long-lasting economic impact of this disease, and we need to stand up for one another — especially those who already cannot afford their rent. Please join us if you live here and want to support your neighbours through COVID-19:

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Our demands

We are asking for three things: No Evictions, Fair Rent, No Retaliation.

1. No Evictions

a. Tenants should not lose their home - no evictions during 2020

2. Fair Rent

a. 20% reduction in rent payments through 2020

b. Individual tenants should not be forced to pay more than their equal share of the household rent

c. No one should be forced into debt in order to pay rent - Somerford Grove Renters will facilitate discussions with the landlord for a fair agreement for those who can’t afford to pay

3. No Retaliation

a. Guaranteed contract renewals with no rent increase until the end of 2021

b. No late payment fees should be charged in 2020

Principles behind the requests

The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest challenge that the UK has faced since the Second World War. Aside from the almost unimaginable impact on the health and wellbeing of communities across the country, the economic impact will be significant and long-lasting. Those of us in work have seen significant reductions in income, others of us have lost jobs, or watched as freelance work has dried up. We all worry about the future, and what the next year holds for us. It’s time to stand up for renters.

Our landlord John Christodoulou has reached 82nd place on the Sunday Times Rich List, with a net worth of £1.8 billion. He makes approximately £3.5 million from our buildings each year, which were purchased at a time when property costs in Hackney were much lower. Our annual rent increases contribute to the increasing rents in Hackney generally, making the neighbourhood unaffordable for low-income people and pushing out the BAME community. Achieving a rent decrease will not only help our tenants but would represent a major step towards fair housing for all.

20% reduction in rent payments - 80% of the flats we surveyed said they had lost income and people who haven't are worried about losing income in the future. This is a fair and reasonable way of giving tenants security. Many small landlords in our area are giving rent holidays and discounts to tenants. A 20% discount on rent for the 170 flats in Dalston would cost John Christodoulou less than 0.04% of his wealth each year. Those who do not feel they need the discount could contribute it towards a solidarity fund for the community.

No one should lose their home - no one should be evicted for not paying rent during the pandemic - for tenants own safety and for public health - we cannot worsen the crisis of homelessness in the middle of a pandemic.

No one should go into debt to pay rent - Shelter uses the widely accepted affordability rule that says rent should not exceed 30% of net income. Given the long term economic impact of this pandemic - the IMF says this will be the worst economic downturn since the great depression - it is not viable for tenants to take on debt that they will not be able to repay. We propose that tenants who can’t afford rent after the 20% discount will present their financial circumstances to the landlord and reach an agreement on a sustainable rent payment of no more than 30% of net income.

Guaranteed contract renewals with no rent increase until the end of 2021 - people need security and safety during this unprecedented pandemic and the landlord has a responsibility towards the community.

Like the Mayor of London we want a bar on landlords evicting tenants after the crisis for rent arrears they have accrued during it, and an and to so-called “no-fault” evictions.


Why 20% for all, if some can afford rent?

What's the end game here?

  • We show our landlord that we are united and it’s in everyone's best interests to reach an amicable agreement.
  • In negotiations we prioritise: No Evictions - Fair Rent - No Retaliation
  • Support

    We have joined with the London Renters Union. Together we can stand up to landlords and win lower rents and longer tenancies for ourselves, our families and our friends. You can join for as little as £4/month or nothing if you are unwaged at

    We've very grateful that our local MP and counsellors have written to Tower Quay, helped us, and continue to monitor the case.

    The letter to Tower Quay

    You can read the exchange we have had with Tower Quay.

    Contact us

    Please email for any questions or if you'd like to be added to the residents-only WhatsApp group then send us your name and details.

    Join us