Hello to all my readers and clients. My name is Peter Campbell and I am the Managing Director of Caribbean East Atlantic Company Limited. I am the voice of the newly arrived immigrant. I am the truth because I have lived the journey from the bottom up. I have already told that story of my rags to riches journey in my blog post “From Benefits to Business”.  I still have a long way to go as the journey of self improvement only ends when you die.

I have always maintained that the twin pillars of a person’s existence are where they live and what they do to pass their day times. Everything else is built on these two things, I think.  Most people work to earn a living during the days but among this multitude of people in Greater London they all have different living situations.   Nearly a quarter of London’s households rent their home from a private landlord.

My previous landlord was a quiet man. Dark clouds only started to gather once he rented a room in the house to a tenant without doing the relevant checks. This tenant was anti-social. He smoked marijuana in the house, kept pets which he did not clean up after and to the landlord’s dismay he did not pay the rent.  The landlord took him to Bow County Court to have him evicted. The process was successful. However the landlord used the possession order which he received for the other tenant as a reason to evict every other tenant in the multi occupancy dwelling. I decided on a point of principle that I would not leave. I arrived later the same day to find that the locks had been changed. So I called the police on advice of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau to gain re-entry into the property. The police washed their hands of my case and said that “it was a civil matter and not a criminal one.” I was homeless and without my deposit. Luckily a homeless application to the council ensured that I was off the street by the time I had overstayed my welcome at my friend’s home. I pursued the legal matter through a lawyer but to no avail. Eight months later I finally did the right thing. I took the matter myself to Bow County Court.

The point of my story is this, even if you go through all the right channels and you are in fact in the right going up against a rogue landlord can leave you on the streets and your life up in the air.  Immigrants and other tenants alike find themselves at the mercy of landlords and estate agents who are in control of a market where there are more renters than there are properties. If tenants came together in a union and bargained for proper contractual terms as well as the ability to take effective legal action where their rights are infringed then things would get better for everyone. There would be effective screening of tenants and rent levels would be negotiated on a level playing field. This is one of the innovations which Caribbean East Atlantic Company Limited will be working towards in the near future. With private social rental available to highly skilled immigrants we would make London more accessible to the people who will keep it strong.

My name is Peter Campbell, writing from London United Kingdom.