Dorchester Court in London has witnessed battles between its tenants and owner Heinrich Feldman recently but it’s come to a head during the crisis and residents have now joined a union to demand lower rents.

Tenants at an historic housing estate in London have joined a union to fight their landlords’ development plans and demand rent reductions.

Nearly 100 members of the London Renters Union at Dorchester Court in Herne Hill have written to their landlord Manaquel Ltd demanding rent reductions, no evictions for arrears and essential repairs to their homes.

Many have been hit hard by the crisis, but after Manaquel refused to offer any individual discounts, they decided to join together. Manaquel is owned by the property tycoon Heinrich Feldman, who’s worth more than £200 million.

Since the pandemic, tenants have been told by email that the company can’t afford to write off some of their rent, while they’ve also received letters telling them about plans to build penthouses on top of the existing buildings, which tenants fear may lead to evictions.

They’ve spent years asking Manaquel to make vital repairs to the blocks in Dorchester Court, citing problems with intermittent hot water and heating outages, as well as mould and vermin.

Parts of the buildings are even propped up with wooden supports. However, since 2015, the landlord has been working on a planning application to add eight town houses and 16 penthouses to the buildings, claiming it needs to make money to pay for the repairs.

The London Renters Union is calling for Manaquel to enter into negotiations to agree a fair deal for their members.

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