Search

Five people could face eviction every day in Hackney amid recession and rising rents

10:06 12 July 2013

A group of protesters demonstrate outside Hackney Town hall about housing prices.

A group of protesters demonstrate outside Hackney Town hall about housing prices.

Archant

Up to five people per day in Hackney could be facing eviction from their homes, according to a legal advice charity.

Case Study: Rosie Walker

Rosie Walker, 35, is a research assistant at London School of Economics and has been badly hit by the rent increases in Hackney.

“When I moved in to a five-bedroom house in Gunton Road, Clapton, the monthly rent was £2,300. Within two months, the landlord asked us to pay an extra £400, an increase of nearly 20 per cent.

“He threatened us with eviction unless we agreed. The house was in poor condition and we negotiated a list of repairs in exchange for the increase in September 2011.

“The household repairs were left undone. When I asked him a year later to replace a broken chest of drawers, he replaced them and served us an eviction notice.

“I’ve rented since I was 18 and it’s getting harder to keep a roof over my head.”

Hackney Community Law Centre, in Lower Clapton Road, Clapton, say they are contacted by around 150 people every month – almost 2,000 a year – facing possession proceedings and eviction.

At the same time spiralling rents, up almost 15 per cent over the last 18 months – and high letting agent fees sparked a demonstration outside Hackney Town Hall, in Mare Street, on Saturday, led by recently formed campaign group Digs.

Val Thomas, a housing caseworker at the centre, said: “We have approximately 150 people per month getting in touch or being referred. This is a rough estimate of the number of anxious people seeking our services because they fear losing their homes.

“It’s a lot. At the same time all our services and legal aid are being cut. There are not many housing lawyers left either because of the cuts.”

At the weekend, dozens of people took part in Housing Crisis Monopoly, a piece of street theatre devised by Digs to highlight the barriers and pitfalls tenants encounter as they’re forced to go through letting agents to be housed.

Heather Kennedy, 29, of Hackney Downs, one of the lead organisers of the protest, described the day as a roaring success.

She said: “We’ve spoken to so many people today and the mood against greedy landlords and letting agents is really strong.

“People aren’t stupid – they know when they’re being ripped off, exploited and discriminated against. The problem is, until now we’ve suffered alone and in silence.

“To be a private tenant is often to feel powerless. But the tide is turning.

“Measures need to be brought in urgently to protect the 8.5million people living in England’s private rented sector.”

Nicola Calvert, 36, a radiotherapist, lived in Sigdon Road, Hackney Downs, until she claims she was forced out by a greedy landlord who increased her monthly rent from £460 to £625 overnight.

She said: “We decided the increase was ridiculous and couldn’t afford it.

“I think rent being pushed up is a huge problem in Hackney. It seems to have happened to a lot of my friends, and now one seems able to do anything to control it.”

The average monthly rent of a studio has increased by 14 per cent from £788 to £898 in 18 months, according to statistics from the Valuation Office Agency, despite the fact that interest rates are among the lowest they have ever been.

0 comments

Latest Hackney News Stories

Clown Bluebottle outside the gallery

Off duty clowns will be on hand to tell visitors about their art, at a monthly open day at the Clowns’ Gallery Museum today from noon to 5pm.

08:00
Hackney South MP Meg Hillier has spoken out about a 'new temporary housing scandal'

The MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch has said cases of homelessness in the borough are “the worst they’ve ever been” in her 20 year political career.

Yesterday, 17:20
The National Union of Tecahers has called for a one-day strike on Tuesday

Teachers in Hackney are set to take part in national strike action in a dispute with the government over the impact of the government’s education bill and cuts to their pay, conditions and employment.

Yesterday, 15:01
Domestic abuse victim Manuela in happier times: She says living in a homeless hostel in Hackney has robbed her of hope

After a man’s decomposing body was found in shocking conditions at a homeless hostel in Hackney this month, investigations journalist EMMA YOULE meets a domestic abuse victim who lives at the hostel, and asks if the accommodation is suitable for a woman in her situation?

Yesterday, 12:09
Nelson and Ibrahim

Two men who smuggled loft insulation to support a courtroom lie in a case where a PCSO was shot at have been given jail terms.

Yesterday, 10:39
Jules Pipe

Hackney mayor Jules Pipe will step down next month, with his deputy and housing boss Cllr Philip Glanville taking over until a by-election in September.

Yesterday, 09:52
Troy Bar on Hoxton Street in Hackney

Bouncers at a Hoxton bar allegedly stood and watched as four customers were beaten up outside with a metal bike chain.

Wed, 16:55
Hackney's mayor Jules Pipe is set to become Sadiq Khan's planning chief

Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe is set to leave his post and become Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for planning.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Copyright: Erich Spiegelhalter/Schwarzwald

Embark on a three day round trip (including flights) during which you will taste local specialities such as the famous Black Forest Gateau, discover nature, absorb vibrant city culture, learn about technological innovations, indulge yourself in the plentiful wellness spas, take some shots on the golf course, and enjoy family fun at Germany’s largest theme park.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hackney Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe