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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Housing policy realities and consequences

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Brent Housing Partnership's interpretation of 'Managing Homes for Brent Council'
works out as 'Evicting Locals for Vacant Possession' so the Council can sell the land to 'developers'

The following text is transcribed here from a demo leaflet published by KUWG in conjunction with Community Organisers and Unite Community for an anti-eviction event in December 2014. It serves to emphasise that councils have already been turfing out tenants even before the Conservative Manifesto for 2015 UK General Election was published.

'Regeneration' Demolishes Secure Council Housing

Previously we have seen:

  • Building of decent social housing for tenants on the South Kilburn Estate previously put 'on hold' for decades
  • Council and Government spending on services never accounted for promises made to tenants

Land sold off as tenants are sold out! Now we see:

  • Secure tenants are being evicted for different reasons as land is sold off and tenants sold out
  • Leaseholders not being able to afford to stay in the locality
  • Temporaray tenants facing uncertainty
  • Tenants with secure tenancies being pressurised and paid to move out of their homes to make way for development
  • Insttituional evictions which are widespread, where the courts and the local authority work hand in hand evicting many
  • Council housing in South Kilburn being phased out right under our noses to be replaced by 50% private developments and housing associations. Of the 236 new homes being built on the site of Gloucester House and Durham Court, 135 of them will be for sale on the private market

"Taken to the Cleaners": One tenant's case....

Jess, a secure tenant of 18 years on the South Kilburn Estate, tells her story of the harsh measures taken by the Council which has lost Jess her secure tenancy.

"I lost the security of my permanent council home when I rented a room to some friends and took up a temporary job offer abroad where I stayed in staff a ccommodation. I left my belongings inside the flat and they knew I was coming back. My tenancy agreement says that I am allowed to do this if I ask permission from the Council. The Councill cannot really refuse this request."
Consent to subletting: Section 94 of the Housing Act 1985:
(1) This section applies to the consent required by virtue of section 93(1)(b) (landlor's consent to subletting of part of dwelling hous)
(2) Consent shall not be unreasonably withheld (and if unreasonably withheld shall be treated as given); and if a question arises whehter the withholding of consent was unreasonable it is for the landlord to show that it was not.
"If I had got the appropriate permissions I would have been able to keep hold of my tenancy AND carry out my job contract abroad. This would have been possible as my tenancy agreement says I'm allowed to sublet with permission.

"The Judge explained that I should have put in writing I still had access to the flat. Because I did not do this the Brent's Barrister said that I moved out without realising it, giving them exclusive possession, claiming I 'sublet' the entire flat. I ended up losing my job contract aboad as the Council wrote to my employer telling them about the prospective legal proceedings. The Council acted harshly, not to stop me from doing something wrong, but to get the property back."

Stop Evictions!

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