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Other ways to connect with Members of Parliament

If you can't secure a meeting with your local MP to talk about the renting issues that matter to you, or if the idea of trying to meet with your MP is a bit daunting, there are a range of other ways you can raise these issues with them. This includes (but definitely isn't limited to!) sending them a letter, interacting with them on social media, or showing up at any community events you know they'll be attending.

Sending letters to MPs

Letters can be a great way to get a message, stories and data across to MPs and candidates without needing to lock in a meeting with them. Here are some key tips for writing letters to your local MP:

  • Personalise the letter to the recipient. If you know any details about the individual (such as a community cause they’re involved in, or which sports team they support), it can be worth including a reference to it so they take notice.
  • Personalise the letter to yourself. Tell them your name, whereabouts you live, including that you are a local constituent, and why the issues you’re writing about are important to you.
  • Include a story. Stories are important to changing minds. Sharing some of your own story as a renter – or the story of your kids, friends or neighbours who are renters – can be an effective campaign tool.
  • Include some data or stats. Our State of the Renters fact-sheets provide locally specific data about renting in your electorate. You can find your electorate's State of the Renters information via the Tenants' Union Putting Renters on the Map tool. Have a look at the data, pick out a piece of information that stands out to you as especially interesting or important for them to understand, and let them know about it. For instance, if you’re surprised by what a high percentage of the people in your electorate are renters, the MP might be, too – they might not yet be aware of just how important it is that they take renters' issues seriously.
  • Ask them for a specific commitment or commitments. Let them know that you want them to commit to doing something about the rental crisis. This might be asking them to commit to voting in favour of pet-friendly rentals, voting to end ‘no grounds’ evictions, or to commit to lobbying their own party to support investment in public and community housing in your electorate. You might be asking for a number of commitments, or just one that really matters to you. Make sure the story or stories you tell, and the data you share, help back up why it’s so important that they make this commitment.
  • Thank them for taking the time to consider your letter, and let them know you look forward to receiving a swift response. 

Interacting with MPs and candidates on social media

Many MPs are very active on social media, especially Facebook – particularly during election season. Commenting on an MP’s social media posts can be a great, low-barrier, way for you to politely express your concerns and questions about their positions on renting issues. Note: while expressing frustration about the rental crisis is completely understandable, it can be more effective to avoid things like swearing and direct personal attacks towards the MP, and rather stick to discussing the issues and why they matter to you as a constituent.

Keeping an eye on MPs’ social media channels can also keep you informed about any upcoming community events or campaign stalls that they will be hosting or attending.

Showing up at community events and campaign stalls that MPs are attending or hosting

Even if you’re unable to secure a dedicated meeting to discuss renting issues, there are still ways to be face-to-face with MPs to talk about these issues. MPs will often attend community events – again, especially when it's election season. When they do this, they will generally notify their social media channels – especially Facebook – of where they will be and when. This is because they want to have conversations with constituents: that’s you!

If you go along to a community event or campaign stall that an MP or candidate is holding, you should:

  • Introduce yourself – including that you are a constituent.
  • Let them know that you are especially interested in renting issues, and why – this can be where you share a story and/or compelling data.
  • Ask them, face-to-face, for a commitment on one or several renting issues.

This sends a clear message to your MP that renting issues are important to the community members that they represent, and that if they want to keep their seat in future, they’ll have to take these issues seriously. The more pressure placed on them in this way – ie, the more constituents that raise renting issues with them – the more likely it is that we will see them make commitments to make changes to the renting system to make it fairer for renters.