Category Archives: Chapman Hse

New TH cabinet member for housing fluffs lines on new eviction law

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A sneaky picture from inside the chamber. It wasn’t me.

TH Renter Michael James was left feeling angry and offended last night after asking TH Council’s new cabinet member for housing, Sirajul Islam, what the council can do to speed up property inspections to make use of the new law to prevent revenge evictions.

Michael’s landlord attempted to evict him three times last year after he reported dangerous conditions at the 19-apartment block he lives in and so fully appreciates the importance of the new law that came into effect in October.

However, instead of offering any assurances or asking for an explanation if he wasn’t aware of the new law, Sirajul simply repeated the answer he gave to Michael’s previous question on landlord licensing.

licensing demo 2TH Renters are concerned that the councillor responsible for protecting private renters from callous landlords doesn’t seem to be keeping abreast of new laws aimed at doing just that.

The new law states that a private tenant cannot be evicted from his or her home for six months after the council has carried out an inspection and issued an improvement notice to the landlord following a complaint about sub-standard conditions.

However, as Michael found out, it can take up to a year for the council to carry out an inspection and 18-months to issue an improvement notice. To be fair to the council it was not one property they had to inspect, but 19. They then have to compile a report before issuing the improvement notice.

licensing demo 6But the reality is that TH Council’s environmental health team – who carry out the inspections – is under-resourced and so they are unable to quickly respond to complaints meaning a landlord could evict a tenant who has complained before the council has inspected the property and issued an improvement notice.

Hence Michael’s question: “can the [cabinet member for housing] outline how he will speed up inspections and the issuing of improvement notices, so private renters can benefit from the new law that is supposed to prevent revenge evictions?”

The answer is clearly: “no he can’t.”

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TH Council commits to Feb 2016 Licensing decision

licensing demo 1

TH Council said last night it would decide on whether to implement a landlord licensing scheme in February 2016, however it’s still not clear what scheme they plan to adopt and how effective it will be.

TH Renters has been calling for the introduction of licensing, which provides councils with the resources to inspect properties and prosecute landlords in breach of basic conditions, for years.

Newham has been successfully operating licensing since 2013 and prosecutes more landlords than the rest of London put together.

To be licensed landlords must also pass a fit-and-proper person test meaning those found guilty of housing law violations, fraud or sexual, violent or organised crimes would be banned from acting as a landlord and would have to transfer the management of their property to a reputable agent.

However, the concern is TH Council only plan to introduce Selective licensing, which can only be applied to 20% of a borough (after the coalition government changed the law in April) – unless the case can be proved to the secretary of state to make it borough-wide.

So TH Renters would like the Council to introduce Additional licensing, which has no restrictions and so can be borough-wide, alongside Selective – as they did in Newham.

Additional licensing requires every property let to mixed households (ie where everyone in the property is not related, also know as ‘houses of multiple occupation’ or HMO) must be licensed.

The net result being that a far higher percentage of private landlords would be licensed than would be if only Selective was introduced to 20% of the borough.

The Feb 2016 announcement was made after TH Renter Michael James asked a question to new cabinet member for housing Sirajul Islam at Wednesday’s full council meeting.

Private tenant beats eviction for third time after tribunal cuts £450 rent-rise to £2.50

Michael finally has a reason to smile

Michael finally has a reason to smile

A private tenant who fought off two retaliatory evictions before being hit with a 70% rent rise was celebrating today after a rent assessment tribunal cut the proposed £450 increase to £2.50.

Michael James, who has lived in his Shadwell apartment for 25-years, has been battling to remain in his home since reporting dangerous conditions to the council in late 2013 after the landlord ignored his concerns.

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Shadwell tenant notified of 70% rent rise after twice beating retaliatory eviction attempts

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Michael with the letter detailing the 70% rent hike

A private tenant who beat his landlord’s attempts to twice evict him for reporting dangerous conditions to the council has been notified of a 70 per cent increase in rent this week in a bid to force him out.

For the first time in nearly a year Michael James, who’s lived at Chapman House, a 19-flat block in Shadwell, for more than 25-years, began to feel secure in his home again after his solicitor informed him of a little known law that meant he was an assured tenant and could not be evicted.

However, on Saturday Michael received formal notice from the landlord’s solicitor that his rent would be increased from £650 to £1,100 a month from April.

Mr James said he believes it’s a vindictive move to force him out through alternative means after the landlord twice failed to evict him in 2014 with a Section 21 (two-month notice to quit). He said it has brought back the desperate sense of insecurity and fear for the future he thought he’d put behind him.

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Anti-eviction demo outisde TH Town Hall on Wednesday 10th Sept

Michael James faces eviction for highlighting serious health & safety issues to the council

Michael James faces eviction for highlighting serious health & safety issues to the council

Please join us one* more time to demand Tower Hamlets Council put an end to retaliatory evictions in the borough as councillors hold their monthly full council meeting.

Loyal and decent tenants face being kicked out of their homes in the run-up to Christmas for no other reason than expressing concern over unsafe living conditions unless action is taken.

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Housing demo at Tower Hamlets Town Hall, Weds 30 July, to call for Better Conditions Without Evictions – Please join us

SUPPORT MICHAEL & TOWER HAMLETS RENTERS AS THEY LOBBY COUNCIL OVER POOR HOUSING CONDITIONS & RETALIATORY EVICTIONS

6-7pm, Wednesday, 30th July, outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall Continue reading

Tenant takes eviction fight to letting agent’s door

Today, Michael James and supporters visited Andlow Properties letting agent in Tottenham north London, to personally deliver a petition, signed by the mayor of Tower Hamlets and 18 councillors. The activists want the landlord to reconsider the eviction notice served to Michael after he reported dangerous conditions at his block in Shadwell, east London. The campaigners, supported by Unite Community, are also demanding that the landlord carry out the necessary repairs.

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Michael reading out the petition

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