What do we believe in?

Housing Action Teesside (HAT) is a renters’ union, representing tenants across Teesside, that campaigns for decent, secure and affordable homes for all. We are organising tenants collectively to support them with housing issues, across both the private and social rented sector.

We believe that the rights of Teessiders to decent, affordable homes must come ahead of private profit, we will fight for an end to homelessness and housing insecurity. We know that for decades, our council housing has been sold off, and replaced with a profit-driven private rented sector that left too many facing exploitative rents and insecure private tenancies.

Since 2010, drastic austerity cuts have meant that councils have been forced to slash vital support for homelessness and social care. These changes have caused destitution across our community, Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis have caused even more hardship.

We have called on local authorities and central government to deliver real
changes to address this housing crisis, including:

  • returning to building council houses – rather than outsourcing to housing associations – at social rent on a mass scale, ensuring enough social housing for all who need it
  • introducing rent caps during the cost of living crisis, and a ban on evictions
    which are caused by tenants being unable to afford rent
  • taking over empty buildings and putting these to use immediately as social
    housing, to tackle the long and growing social housing waiting list
  • properly regulating the housing sector with a national landlord register,
    taking action against rogue landlords and ensuring all social and private
    homes are to a decent quality
  • expanding homelessness support, scrapping ‘non-priority’ and ‘no recourse
    to public funds’ status to give everyone the help they need
  • stopping asylum seeker evictions, ending the hostile environment which
    forces landlords and councils to act as Home Office border guards, and
    ensuring that everyone receives support to keep them off the streets
  • ending discrimination against housing applicants receiving benefits, which
    was ruled illegal
  • opposing criminalisation of homelessness
  • supporting unionisation of housing workers, to fight for better pay and
    conditions

We believe we can achieve these changes through organising as a community, showing solidarity with each other and demanding better from central and local government. We will support other groups that are also campaigning for these aims, we will support our members, linking them up with housing advice and assistance.

Constitution

December 2021


Name

1.1.     The name of the group shall be Housing Action Teesside (“HAT”)


Aims

2.1.    HAT is a network of renters and other residents in the Teesside area.

2.2.     HAT seeks to support the organising of renters in Teesside into a tenants and community union.

2.3.    Our aim is to campaign to improve the lives of residents in Teesside, through supporting more council housing and more rights for renters, and other objectives supported by our members.


Membership

3.1.    Membership is free and open to any Teesside resident who supports HAT’s aims.

3.2.    For the purposes of counting membership, any Teesside resident who is on the email list will be considered a member and will be entitled to vote during meetings and stand for positions.

3.3.    If any member raises an objection to a new member joining the group, on the grounds that they do not believe the new member to be supportive of HAT’s aims, that member may be excluded by a majority vote of a HAT All Members’ Meeting (AMM).


Standards of behaviour

4.1.    Members can be excluded by a majority vote of the HAT AMM if their behaviour is considered to be contrary to HAT’s aims or damaging to its reputation.

4.2.    HAT is committed to equality and diversity. It will not discriminate on the grounds of sex, race (including colour, ethnic or national origin), sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, pregnancy or maternity, marital status or age.


Meetings

5.1.    The sovereign decision-making body of the group will be the all members’ meeting (AMM). 

5.2.    AMMs will occur as necessary and not less than six times a year, taking place either online, in-person, or as hybrid meetings accessible both online and in     person.

5.3.    The quorum will be 3 members.

5.4.    All members will receive notice of meetings at least 7 days prior to the Meeting.

5.5.    All questions that arise at any meeting will be discussed openly and the meeting will seek to find general agreement that everyone present can agree to.  

5.6.    If a consensus cannot be reached a vote will be taken and a decision will be made by a simple majority of members present.

5.7.    By a simple majority, the AMM will have the right to make constitutional amendments, pass motions which will then become HAT policy, and instruct HAT position-holders to carry out an action on behalf of the group.

5.8.     Any constitutional amendment must be proposed and seconded, and sent to the HAT secretary prior to the meeting.

5.8.    Any policy motion or instruction to HAT officers must be proposed and seconded, and can be sent to the HAT secretary prior to a meeting to be included on the agenda, or raised from the floor.


Positions

6.1.    The position-holders’ roles are as follows:

6.1.1.    The Chair, who chairs meetings, is responsible for organising 

AMMs and for ensuring all have equal opportunity to speak and that decisions are made democratically. 

6.1.2.    The Secretary, who shall be responsible for the taking of minutes and the distribution of all papers.

6.1.3.    The Treasurer, who shall be responsible for maintaining accounts.

6.1.4.    The Communications Rep, who shall be responsible for managing the social media accounts and sending out email updates.

6.1.5.    The Membership Welfare Rep, who shall be responsible for keeping the membership list, and reaching out to members regularly to find out about members’ housing issues and assess how HAT can support.

6.1.6.    The Campaigns Rep is responsible for planning and organising campaigns in line with HAT’s political objectives.

6.2.    All positions will be elected at the Annual General Meeting. 

6.3.    In the event of any vacancies, any position can be elected at any All Members’ Meeting. Where a position is vacant its duties can be carried out by other role-holders.

6.4.    In the event of a contested election, the position shall be elected by single transferable vote.

6.5.    Any position can be held by job-share if agreed by both.

6.6.    Any duty, including facilitating and notetaking, may be delegated or rotated around group members if the relevant position-holder agrees to this or is absent from the meeting.

6.7.    Any position-holder may be removed by a simple majority vote of the AMM.


Annual General Meeting

7.1.    The Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place at least every 12 months.

7.2.    All members will be notified at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting that the AGM is taking place.

7.3.    The quorum for the AGM will be 5 members.

7.4.    At the AGM:

7.5.1.    The position-holders will report back about HAT’s activities in the previous year, as relevant to their positions.

 7.5.2.    The positions for the next year will be elected.

7.5.3.    Any motions, constitutional amendments or instructions to position-holders may be considered, as at an AMM.


Finances

8.1.    A bank account will be maintained on behalf of HAT at a bank agreed at an 

AMM.

8.2.    All the money raised by or on behalf of HAT is only to be used to further the aims of the group.

8.3.    Signatories to the bank account will be the Treasurer, and any others required will be HAT members nominated by the Treasurer.

8.4.    Records of income and expenditure will be maintained by the Treasurer, and reported back to the group at each AGM, or more frequently if required.


Dissolution

9.1.    If there is a proposal by a member to close down the group, it must be circulated to all members at least 1 week prior to an AMM. 

9.2.    If it is agreed to dissolve the group, all remaining money and other assets belonging to HAT will be donated to a local non-profit organisation, campaign, or trade union. The recipient of any money or assets will be agreed at the meeting which agrees the dissolution.