Union members hold protest outside Lancaster estate agents

A protest was held outside a Lancaster estate agents at the weekend against claims of unfair rent charges.

Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 9:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 10:05 am
The protest outside the Mighty Student Living letting agency on February 29 2020.

Acorn Lancaster and Morecambe took action against Mighty Student Living letting agency for what they say were unfair charges against one of its members.

Acorn is a community-based union of working class people - tenants, workers, residents - which supports and empowers low-income communities across the country to fight for a better life.

They protested outside the company's Lancaster offices in Bowerham on Saturday as part of an ongoing member defence case regarding unfair rent charges.

The protest outside the Mighty Student Living letting agency on February 29 2020.

Acorn Lancaster and Morecambe arrived outside the letting agency at 11am and proceeded to protest outside, while a sub-group entered to deliver demands to the manager of Mighty House.

They then continued to protest outside Mighty House until noon, using banners, signs and chants to demonstrate grievances the union has with Mighty House’s conduct.

An Acorn spokesman said: "It should be noted that Acorn Lancaster and Morecambe did not block either the pavement or the entrance to Mighty House and aimed to ensure that the workers within the agency were not intimidated using peaceful protest at this action."

The member at the centre of the case said: "Today was about taking the fight to Mighty Student Living over an incident that happened six months ago.

"Their constant emails and threats of debt collectors have caused so much anxiety and contributed to the decline of my mental health.

"Protesting outside of MSL’s office with the support of Acorn today feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

"Without their support, I don’t know where I’d be. The action taken by Acorn members today is hopefully the beginning of the end, and I can finally have closure."

A Mighty House spokesman said: "The protest was with regard to a student who rented a room from a landlord whose property is managed by Mighty Student Living.

"A situation arose which resulted in the student vacating before the end of the tenancy. The Mighty Student Living team have been trying to resolve the matter in a professional way, whilst trying to balance a sensitive issue with legal responsibilities to pay rent.

"Acorn Communities have taken it upon themselves to protest against Mighty House. However, Mighty House is an estate agent and not involved in the letting of student houses and therefore the protest was levied against the wrong company.

"In addition to this, at no point prior to the protest did Acorn contact Mighty Student Living to discuss their concerns and give a chance for comment.

"Instead they held a protest without warning against a company which has no involvement with this matter, and in an inappropriate manner.

"They entered the Mighty House office and filmed two young female members of staff in an intimidating way, causing considerable upset, which resulted in the office being closed early.

"We would suggest that Acorn review their facts and consider the conduct of their members before demonstrating outside of other business premises which can cause unfair damage to the reputation of companies such as Mighty House who have an outstanding track record for customer service and satisfaction."