Stop tenant evictions – Reduce private sector rents – Fri 3 Aug, 9am

August 1, 2012

Bring family, friends and neighbours to a Haringey Housing Action Group protest on

Friday 3 August, 9am at Haringey Council Customer Service Centre, Apex House, 820 Seven Sisters Road, N15 5PQ (tube: Seven Sisters) – the home of the North London Housing Benefit Hub.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Housing Benefit cuts are starting to hit, and we are seeing the first set of evictions for tenants who can’t pay for rent increases from their benefits. With solidarity actions, we can all try and stop individual evictions, but what is the council doing to support tenants who don’t want to be forced to move?

Haringey Council runs one of 10 projects that were given £4 million to support people facing housing benefit cuts. But we have seen little evidence of support.  We have been told that the council will not help tenants negotiate with landlords to reduce rents – they didn’t see why they should, as landlords “have a mortgage to pay”.

Housing is a basic necessity, like food and water, yet many landlords appear to forget this and think they’re running a business like any other.  At recent council-run landlord forums, the council has done nothing to challenge this.

Where landlords raise rents above LHA levels, families in particular suffer, with less money to feed and clothe their children. If evicted, it will mean upheaval for the tenant and their family, the potential breaking up of community and family support, which can have a significant impact on a child’s health and education. And there will also be costs to the council, for giving advice and possibly housing for tenants in priority need.
We want:

  • private sector rents to be reduced to LHA levels or below – in Birmingham, the city council has negotiated reduced rates with letting agents and landlords responsible for more than 500 properties. Why won’t Haringey council do this?
  • no evictions for tenants who cannot cover rent increases
  • better support for private tenants in Haringey –  the council should cover court costs for tenants facing eviction, and should re-house tenants before their eviction date, avoiding unnecessary stress
  • decent, genuinely affordable, secure housing for everyone

Bring your own suggestions for what we can do to stop evictions and reduce rents, and for how the council can improve its service for private tenants. We will be taking all suggestions in to the head of housing advice and options to see what she has to say.

Links: Haringey Housing Action Group

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