Category Archives: Eviction Resistance

HASL member takes landlord to court



More often than not, our direct action casework is needed because the law is practically useless for tenants. Sometimes, however, we can take on the landlords and win.


HASL has been working closely with DC Resists – a group of residents (sadly, many are now former residents) at the beautiful Dorchester Court estate in Herne Hill. The estate had been taken over by a shady landlord company called Manaquel, who are in many ways the most extreme example of greedy, heartless profiteers of the housing crisis.


Since taking over Dorchester Court the company has raised the rents to eye-watering levels. They’ve allowed the buildings to fall into disrepair. They evicted families just because they could. In short: they destroyed a community because they could squeeze a greater profit out of their asset.


Dorchester Court didn’t roll over. They opposed Manaquel at every step, and HASL were proud to help.


HASL DC resists


When they came to evict Ravi he approached a tenant-friendly lawyer, who helped him to defeat Manaquel’s possession claim on a technicality. Manaquel tried again, and Ravi’s solicitor spotted an even more technical defence to the claim, which was rejected by Lambeth County Court on new year’s eve. Ravi appealed – and won.


Ravi argued that – because Manaquel is a company – it can’t sign documents like an ordinary person can. Instead, two authorised people have to sign all of its documents in order for the signature to comply with Section 44 of the Companies Act 2006. One of the documents (the certificate attached to the ‘prescribed information’ that landlords have to provide when they take a deposit) wasn’t properly signed, so the Section 21 notice wasn’t valid.



Tenants can only win temporarily – it’s only a matter of time before the landlord tries again.


In the private sector these technical defences are the only way of beating private landlords. It’s always worth checking – and checking carefully – whether the landlord has complied with all the technicalities that the law requires in order to take away someone’s home. HASL recommends that you see a legal aid solicitor if your landlord tries to evict you – especially because the new Deregulation Act has introduced several new technical defences.


*UPDATE* Landlord tries again – and fails!

In May 2016 the landlord issued another ‘no-fault’ eviction claim to kick Ravi out.  The landlord used the ‘accelerated procedure’, a super-quick process where the courts can take away someone’s home without a hearing.


The landlord’s solicitor had ticked a box saying that no deposit had been taken, and signed a statement saying that the contents of the form were true.  In fact the first Section 21 claim had been dismissed because the landlord had taken a deposit but failed to protect it.  The landlords were asking the court to evict Ravi on the basis of information that was plain wrong.


The court was unimpressed with Ravi’s landlord’s solicitors and struck their claim out, telling them to start again.

Eviction resistance Tuesday 8th December

Tuesday 8th December meet 8.30am
Dorchester Court, Herne Hill, SE24 9QX
Support Roz resist the bailiffs tomorrow morning. Roz is one of a number of residents who have already or are about to face eviction from Dorchester Court. The private landlord decided he could make even more money out of these homes so he’s raising the rents and evicting many of the current residents on the estate. Show your support for Roz and the other residents to fight for their homes.
Everyone welcome. We’ll bring breakfast snacks and refreshments.

Eviction resistance success in Camberwell!

photo credit: People's Republic of Southwark

photo credit: People’s Republic of Southwark

This morning, around 40 people (including residents from the nearby Aylesbury estate campaign, Eviction Resistance, Revolutionary Workers Party, neighbours, and us!) squeezed onto a narrow balcony in Camberwell responding to a call out from 14 year old Saffi to help stop the eviction of her family by Southwark council.

Saffi wrote:

“We constantly keep moving from one house to another nonstop for over the past years. This is extremely difficult because I am missing school and I have my GCSE exams and my family have been undergoing this difficult process all our life and I feel we need to put a stop to this. Thus I am pleading with all my might, that you come down and support us on along with some other generous people coming to peacefully protest and make our voices audible concerning the way the council are treating our community.”

Saffi, her sisters, mother, and grandmother are being housed by Southwark council in temporary accommodation, but as Saffi says, they have been continually evicted by the council and moved about – including being sent out to Plumstead. They are currently living on an estate that the council has marked for demolition.

The council were trying to evict the family for alleged rent arrears. They have lawyers who are appealing but in the mean time, collective action kept the family in their home. HASL have come across a similar situation which we wrote about here, where they evicted a family in temporary accommodation over alleged rent arrears and declared them ‘intentionally homeless’. But having rent arrears does not automatically make you ‘intentionally homeless’ as Southwark council seem to believe. We’ll be keeping an eye on Southwark over this.

Bailiffs and builders hid round the corner talking with a couple of police after witnessing the balcony full of people and banners determined to block their way.

Once we were sure the bailiffs had gone, Saffi’s mum delivered a powerful victory speech and invited us all in for a victory feast of jollof rice, chicken, and plantain.

Eviction resistance victory feast!

Eviction resistance victory feast!

A moving and inspiring morning! Thanks to everyone who came down!

If you’re facing eviction or worried about any other housing or benefit problems, you’re not alone, get in touch with your local group so that we can support each other and win! If you live in Lambeth or Southwark join HASL’s eviction phone network here and follow Eviction Resistance, London Coalition Against Poverty, and Radical Housing Network for housing action beyond Southwark and Lambeth.