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A Land Without Landlords: Nick Bano & Beth Stratford

Nick Bano and Beth Stratford discuss landlords, rentierism, and the British housing crisis.

21 March 2024

A Land Without Landlords: Nick Bano & Beth Stratford

VersoBooks · A Land Without Landlords | Nick Bano & Beth Stratford


This week on The Verso Podcast we’re putting landlordism under the microscope - how it turns peoples’ homes into poker chips, and the housing market into a casino. Nick Bano and Beth Stratford join our host, Eleanor Penny to discuss the depth and breadth of the housing crisis.

It’s sometimes hard to count the real cost of the housing crisis. We could start at black mould, lung diseases, uprooted communities, smaller wage packets, rampant homelessness - and end at how rentierism warps the economy at large. But for all this, we’d still only be scratching the surface. That’s how deep the roots of the housing crisis go, how far its impacts reach into our everyday lives.

Across the political spectrum people tend to agree that housing costs too much, rents are too high, and landlords have too much power - yet on the ground very little is changing. The economy is more dependent than ever on housing speculation and rentierism, with people and corporations gambling on asset price inflation - and sometimes winning big. So how do we start to build a fair system which treats people's houses as actual homes rather than private assets? 

To answer this question, Nick and Beth unpack the dynamics that have led to the current situation to help us understand what the housing crisis actually is - and how we might start to tackle it. From the industrial revolution, housing racism, and rent strikes, to the anthropological work of Friedrich Engles and the enduring ghost of Thatcher - our brilliant guests lay out how we can best tackle the power of landlords in Parliament, in the courts, and in the streets.

Nick Bano is an author and Barrister who specialises in representing homeless people, residential occupiers, and destitute and migrant households. He has written in Tribune, the New Socialist, and Jacobin. He’s the author of A Practical Guide to the Public Sector Equality Duty in Housing, and Against Landlords: How to Solve the Housing Crisis, published by Verso Books.

Beth Stratford is a political economist, honorary research fellow and guest Lecturer at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. She’s the co-author of the 2019 paper Land for the Many: Changing the way our fundamental asset is used, owned and governed - an independent report commissioned by the Labour Party. She’s a fellow at the New Economics Foundation, an advisor to Positive Money and The Social Guarantee, and a co-founder of London Renters Union. 

Tune in next week when we will be joined by Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Hannah Proctor to talk about the psychology of activism and change making - hope, joy, rage, burnout, and everything in between.

Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of our upcoming episodes this season - we guarantee you’ll want to catch every second of the exciting new run of shows we have lined up over the coming months, featuring even more of the world’s leading activists, scholars, and thinkers. 

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Against Landlords
Housing means prosperity and security for some; poverty, precarity and sickness for others. More people live in private rented accommodation than ever before, and rents rise without apparent reason...

Filed under: author-bano-nick, Verso-Podcast