Thousands of students at over 45 universities are taking part in the largest wave of student rent strikes since the 1970s. We’re calling on the Labour Party to back student rent strikes, demand rent refunds, cuts, controls and fight for a free, public and democratic education system. Sign our open letter in support here.
A Quick Guide to Launching a Rent Strike
Below is a quick step by step guide to getting a rent strike going at your University with a set of example resources from other strikes! Below this you can find a draft sign-up form and list of ongoing rent strikes. You can find more detailed resources at rent-strike.org, including a guide to rent striking during covid.
- Get an organising group together 👥 – get together with students to plan the launch of your strike. Consider the need to have people involved from a breadth of student societies/groups, with energy & time, and with organising experience where possible. You can reach out to the national rent strike network for advice.
- Campaign Timeline 📅 – put together a timeline for the rent strike campaign considering rent payment dates, term dates, and when people will have capacity to join the campaign, planning initial meetings and a launch date around this.
- Why are you striking? 📣 – identify the key reasons behind your strike, coming up with simple key messages that explain the strike, reassure, and persuade students to join. Come up with a consequent set of clear demands such as rent cuts, rebates, no penalties for strikers, including demands that speak to specific issues at your University. These lines can be reproduced through press, social media, and all campaign content. You can find examples in the sign-up forms of Warwick, Bristol, Lancaster.
- Support 🤝 – think about what groups have power, reach and influence and how you might get them to support your campaign.
- It can be useful to have the support of student societies, union branches such as UCU, and your Students Union in particular as it can directly promote your campaign to all students. If your SU officers aren’t supportive you can try and make supporting the rent strike your SU’s policy by bringing a motion in support of the strike, you can find an example from Warwick here.
- Outside of university you might want to consider: Acorn and tenants unions, trade union branches and your local trades council, Constituency Labour Parties, momentum or other community activist groups. MPs and local councillors in particular may lend support to your campaign and have a relationship with your university – if you’re having issues getting the support of your Labour MP let us know and we’re happy to help.
- Preparing to launch the strike ✍️ – to launch you might want:
- A google account + email for the campaign to centralise all docs.
- A sign-up form which includes your key messages, demands, asks students to commit to striking and for contact details. You can find example forms from Warwick, Bristol, Lancaster.
- Launch message concisely summarising the key information: who, what why.
- Graphics for the campaign which are clear, bold and aesthetic.
- Social media including facebook, instagram and twitter accounts.
- Linktree to provide one access point for information about the strike.
- Press release to catch media attention – example from Warwick.
- Launch 🚀 – time the launch for when people are free and put time aside to promote it.post the sign-up form with a short launch message encompassing key information from social media accounts and share everywhere:
- To any student group chats, facebook groups or pages.
- To student societies via their accounts, groups and email lists.
- Ideally via a Student Union email to all students.
- Structure 🕸️ – the structure of the campaign should be specific to the needs of your strike as it develops. Generally it but should facilitate:
- Communication and engagement with strikers – e.g. having a group(s) for all strikers on whatsapp on another widely used platform.
- Delegation of and clear responsibility for work – e.g. working groups based on different areas of work: recruitment, internal communication, external communication, negotiation.
- Effective action – e.g. keeping organising to working groups small enough to easily communicate and reach decisions, note taking and reviewing specific action points at meetings.
- Coordination – e.g. one coordinating group, including someone from each working group, storing all resources on a shared drive.
- Building the strike 🏗️ – once you have people’s details from the sign-up form you can phonebank them to confirm they are striking, see if they can help in a working group or promote the strike. You can find an example phone banking script from Sussex here. It can be helpful to regularly communicate with all strikers about how things are going . Use social media and flyering to promote the strike to students – example from Warwick. Hold meetings, rallies or political education events to build solidarity and understanding that marketisation is to blame.
- Escalation 📈 – to escalate the pressure on the university over time it’s helpful to use direct action, social media shaming, letter writing campaigns and try to garner press attention in doing so.
- Talking to the University 🗣️ – write to the University once your have a few sign-ups setting out your demands and demanding a meeting. In negotiations, hold your ground, call them out for threats and focus on first getting a commitment that there’ll be no repercussions for strikers.
Sign-up forms – Warwick, Bristol, Lancaster.
Linktrees with examples of social media & further info – Warwick, Manchester, Bristol.
SU motion from Warwick.
Press Release from Warwick.
Flyer from Warwick.
Phone Banking script from Sussex.
Example sign-up form:
The Government and University management lied to us about the education we would have this year to bring us back to University and keep us paying extortionate fees and rent. _ students have faced…. Enough is enough we refuse to pay for this broken system. The only way students can push back is collectively, by denying management what they really care about – money.
We are going on rent strike to demand:
- No repercussions or penalties for rent strikers and no interest charges on late rent.
- A _% (many strikers demanding 40%) rent cut and Contract releases or refunds for any periods that students don’t make use of their accommodation.
- The University to deliver and lobby the government for increased investment in mental health support for students and increased financial hardship support (tailor to any particular grievances at your uni).
- No COVID job losses at the University (embed solidarity with university workers into the strike).
Got a question about striking? Check out our FAQs or contact us at _.
Join us in withholding the _(date) rent payment and go on rent strike by filling in the form below.
Name? (required, text)
Phone Number? (required, text)
Accommodation? (better to make this multiple choice rather than short text answer for ease of sorting data)
Do you pledge to withhold your rent? (required yes/no)
Would you like to be added to the Whatsapp group? (yes/no)
Are you able to help organise the rent strike?
I will share this form around & encourage friends to strike
I can help with phonebanking students
I can help with social media
I can help with demonstrations
I’m not able to help
Why are you going on rent strike? (optional, text)
By submitting this form you consent for _ Rent Strike to use the information provided to contact you regarding this campaign.
You can find links to all the ongoing websites we’re aware of below: