Search

Estate agent calls police over Hackney Digs ‘Yes DSS’ rally

PUBLISHED: 14:33 29 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:20 02 March 2016

Protest at Hackney Town Hall over private property renters

Protest at Hackney Town Hall over private property renters

Archant

Police were called as protesters stormed estate agents they accused of having a “no DSS” housing policy.

The 'Lord Mayor of private tenants' read out a decreeThe 'Lord Mayor of private tenants' read out a decree

Pressure group Hackney Digs, joined by MP Meg Hillier, rallied outside the town hall on Saturday before 100 members marched along Mare Street to make their views known.

It followed a two-month mystery shopper experiment, which found 21 of 50 agents contacted in Hackney did not accept tenants on housing benefits, despite the borough having more than 40,000 claimants – the most in London.

The Digs researchers also found just one property in the whole borough – a tiny studio flat – available to people on benefits.

But the theatrical demonstration, which featured the “Lord Mayor of private tenants” reading out a decree, turned sour when officers were called at Stirling Ackroyd.

MP Meg Hillier addressing the crowdMP Meg Hillier addressing the crowd

Digs’ Heather Kennedy said the agents would not engage with them.

But sales manager Athos Kleanthous accused the protesters of scaring a member of staff.

“The whole thing was nothing short of ridiculous,” he said. “If they spent as much time on their own lives as they do protesting they might get somewhere in life.

“We do take DSS, but all of the landlords we work with don’t want tenants on housing benefit. When the Tories came to power they changed how much they were going to contribute to DSS tenants. They should be storming the Houses of Parliament not estate agents.”

The campaigners had a more fruitful chat with Kings Group manager Hadi Nazzari, who pointed out that his company did take DSS tenants – a phrase still used informally when referring to tenants on housing benefits, despite the Department for Social Security being dissolved in 2001.

“It can be a real struggle to find a property when you are on benefits,” he told the Gazette. “We do all we can, we only ask they are working 20 hours a week, but landlords say their previous experiences with tenants on benefits means they don’t usually want them.”

“We will try and encourage them [the landlords] to rent to people in desperate needs.”

Heather believed the protest was a success.

She said: “When the agents heard the stories on a human level they understood it and I think felt a level of guilt. What we heard from Kings was positive, we hope there’s a couple of agents we can work with.”

Related articles

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 18:11

London Lions maintained their lead at the top of the BBL Championship with victory on the road against Worcester Wolves.

Yesterday, 16:56

Leyton Orient came from behind to beat Bromley and extend their unbeaten run in the National League to six matches, while also returning to the top of the table.

Yesterday, 09:00

Justin Edinburgh will make at least one change to the team which won 3-1 at AFC Fylde last time out

An 80-year-old grandmother was called a “f***ing bitch” in a “foul outburst” by her alleged murderer months before she was strangled with a lawnmower cord in a Colindale allotment shed, the Old Bailey heard today.

Fri, 15:00

A new book called Orient in the 70s has been released and will be available to Leyton Orient fans in the Supporters Club ahead of the match against Bromley this weekend.

Fri, 09:34

Detectives investigating the murder of Elyon Poku at an 18th birthday party in Stamford Hill have made two further arrests, ahead of his funeral today.

Fri, 08:00

London All-Stars and London Titans are gearing up for an epic weekend of wheelchair basketball, as the Lord’s Taverners Junior Leagues returns for the 2018/19 season.

Fri, 06:00

Leyton Orient will play Bromley in the National League this weekend wearing their special commemorative kit

PROMOTED CONTENT

Former teacher Steve shares his experiences as a foster carer for teenagers, from dealing with some of their more challenging behaviour, to the rewards of seeing a child develop into a happy and healthy adult

If you are an unpaid carer in Hackney over the age of 25, who would like to get back into work, then Working for Carers can provide the practical assistance and support you need.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists