UPDATE 19/01/22: it is understood that Fadumo’s landlord has now undertaken all the necessary repairs to the house and has furthermore agreed to give Fadumo £1250 in compensation.
ACORN Bristol have rallied in support of one of their members who was left without heating and hot water by her landlord over Christmas.
Fadumo, who lives in St Werburghs with her seven children and mother, said that she has suffered problems with her landlord for three years.
Her situation reached a crisis point in December when she was left for three weeks over Christmas with a broken boiler, on top of which her stove didn’t work, windows were broken and the house was affected by damp.
Fadumo said that she was encouraged to contact ACORN by a friend who told her that the community union would be able to help her.
On Monday, a small number of ACORN members spoke with the landlord and demanded that he fix the boiler, windows and stove within 24 hours. He did mend the boiler but the stove and windows remained broken.
Today (January 12) two-dozen ACORN members gathered in Lawrence Hill and marched on the landlord’s office to maintain the pressure in demanding that he fix the windows and cooker. They also added a demand that he compensate Fadumo for one month’s rent.
Rose Whitehorn, media liaison for today’s action, said: ‘We believe that it’s a landlord’s responsibility to make sure that a house is liveable and habitable for their tenants, and we believe that it’s completely cruel to leave someone in these conditions especially over winter.’
‘With Fadumo, we felt like her case was so extreme and she’s been left to live in such difficult conditions that of course ACORN wanted to take on the case,’ she added.
Once arrived at the landlord’s office, a small group of protesters entered and spoke with the landlord whilst the remaining protesters stood outside singing and waving flags. Many passing motorists and pedestrians shouted their support.
After just over ten minutes the small group emerged from inside to announce that the landlord had accepted the demands to fix the windows and stove, but was refusing to offer compensation.
Content for now with that result, but vowing to return to demand compensation, the protesters called the action to a close and returned to the park down the road where they had begun.
Fadumo looked relieved afterwards and said that she was very happy with the action and the result.
ACORN have been active in Bristol for over seven years but have recently received a lot of attention on the back of some high profile actions, including an occupation of the foyer of City Hall to demand public toilets, and a member defence in Easton to stop bailiffs evicting a tenant.
The branch recently celebrated signing 1,300 members.
Whitehorn said that ‘the fact that we’ve reached so many members is a testament to the fact that we have a strategy, and that we fight and we win consistently. We win compensation, we win these cases for people and we get justice.’