The rentstrike is a form of direct action used by the tenants movement – sometimes very effectively – to campaign for housing rights. In 1915 the Glasgow rent strike won the first ever rent freeze in the private sector and was instrumental in securing the mass provision of municipal housing in the UK from the 1920s onwards. This page features original research by Quintin Bradley into rentstrikes in Leeds. The 1914 rentstrike in Leeds was part of the wave of national tenant protest against rent rises in the private sector that led to the famous Glasgow action of 1915. My reseach evidences the crucial impact of the labour movement in turning spontaneous anger over rent increases into a city-wide campaign for municipal housing. In 1934 Leeds tenants again used the rentstrike, this time against the introduction of market rents and means tested rent rebates. This was the first in a national series of struggles fought to preserve the ‘universal’ model of municipal housing and my research demonstrates the economic and social drivers for this campaign. These two rentstrikes illustrate key moments in the formation of a distinct social movement, the tenants movement. Click on the images below to read more.
Images used on the rentstrike pages are taken from the Leodis archive of Leeds City Council.