We have concluded our dispute with Fox & Sons after a second landlord quit the agency following a short direct action campaign against their business. This follows another landlord who quit the agency in February after a similar campaign. Our campaign against Fox & Sons has been ongoing for four and a half months, and the loss of these landlords – from whom Fox & Sons would have taken 16% of the rent for a full management service, on top of all the fees they charge – coupled to the damage to their business caused by the campaign, is likely to have cost them thousands of pounds.
It’s been a good week in our dispute with Fox & Sons. On Wednesday we picketed the business of a landlord who rents a property out through Fox & Sons; by Thursday she had dropped them as her letting agent. We’d written to this landlord one week previously, explaining Fox & Sons’ systematic mistreatment of their tenants, and demanded that she either drop them as her agency or speak to them and tell them to pay compensation to the tenants involved in our ongoing dispute with them. This landlord chose to do neither, so we staged a picket outside her business on Wednesday 6th February, informing passers by about her association with Fox & Sons.
As our public campaign against Fox & Sons continues, and as they continue to refuse to compensate the six tenants they left homeless due to persistent failures of communication and procedure, we have been contacted by another tenant describing their experience of attempting to rent through the agency.
Brighton SolFed’s public campaign against Fox & Sons has now been extended to their parent company, Skipton Building Society. With Fox & Sons still refusing to compensate the six tenants whose tenancy they cancelled five days after it was supposed to start, leaving them with nowhere to live, we contacted David Cutter, the chief executive of Skipton, and Gary Morton of their lettings branch Connells, to demand that they resolve the issue. Both Mr Cutter and Mr Morton refused to do so, meaning that we are today (Saturday 19th January) extending our campaign to pickets of Skipton branches across the country. This follows an initial picket of Skipton by Manchester SolFed last Saturday 12th January.
Our public dispute with Fox & Sons has continued into the new year, with the agency still failing to adequately compensate six former tenants who they left homeless five days after their tenancy was supposed to start. This failure has been made starker through the revelation that Fox & Sons demanded £720 compensation from the property company, Jears Properties Limited, that own the house the tenants were to move in to.
We recently opened a public dispute against multi-branch letting agency Fox & Sons, in support of a group of tenants who had their tenancy delayed and then completely withdrawn five days after the start of their agreed move-in date. As a result of this mismanagement by the agency, the tenants had to find a last minute alternative accommodation, which ended up being far above their budget. The tenants are now demanding that the agency pays them compensation to cover at least part of the additional costs that their new tenancy requires for an initial period. This would be a way for Fox & Sons to make up for the difficult financial situation that the tenants were forced into.
Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with Fox & Sons, a large estate agency with branches across Brighton. Along with six student tenants, Brighton SolFed wrote to Fox & Sons on November 3rd, demanding that they pay compensation to the tenants, who were told five days after the day they were meant to move in to a property that it had been withdrawn, leaving them with nowhere to live. Fox and Sons’ employees offered no help finding an alternative property, other than suggesting one over the students’ budget. They didn't communicate properly with the tenants, telling them that the property would be ready to move into by early September, which it wasn’t.