Guinness Trust evictions: campaigners hail victory but the battle is far from over

Written by on February 19, 2015 in Community, Housing, News - 7 Comments

guinness trust demoTenants on Loughborough Park estate and their supporters today celebrated two huge victories in their battle against the Guinness Trust.

Bailiffs had been scheduled to evict tenant Arinola Adefuwa this morning but called off their action at the last minute after the Trust admitted it had “made a mistake.”

At a demonstration this morning to pressure Guinness Trust to house residents facing eviction on the estate, Adefuwa said she was relieved to discover that she, her daughter and her disabled brother would not be forced out of their home.

“The Guinness Trust said the letter had been sent to me by mistake. They don’t know how but it happened.

“I’m so relieved I don’t have to go now, but they say I still have to leave in April like the others. I don’t know where they want me to go, I want to stay here. In my home.”

The housing association Guinness Trust, which has charitable status, is evicting shorthold tenants to make way for new flats to be sold at the market rate.

Protesters have described the move is “social cleansing” because tenants will not be able to afford the cost of private renting in the area.

Although the trust’s decision to call off the eviction is good news for Adefuwa, campaigners acknowledge that it is not the end of the fight.

Adefuwa and the other shorthold tenants on the estate are still set to be evicted in April.  

Campaigner Grace Lally said the result was a fantastic victory. “We told them we would be here to stop the eviction and it worked, we are going to do it every time they threaten us with bailiffs.”

Lally said there had also been a second victory for the campaign yesterday: Guinness said the shorthold tenants would be able to apply for new tenancies on the estate.

 “At the start Guinness said they had no responsibility to the tenants, they said go and find a private flat, we have no obligation to you,” added Lally. “A few weeks ago, because of this protest and the determination of the tenants, Guinness said they would provide them with tenancies – outside of London.

“That is social cleansing: if you are poor and you want an affordable rent, get out of London. Yesterday, they finally said shorthold residents can now apply for a tenancy inside London, in Lambeth, in this estate. Its not totally secure but its a start.”

Betiel Mehari, who faces eviction and has led the campaign, said today that “the battle is not over, the pressure has to continue until Guinness agree to something solid. We want secure tenancies and to know we have somewhere to live after April.”

Also at the protest was Osironke O. Olugbile who highlights the tenants’ need to stay on the estate and to have secure tenancy agreements.

Olugbile has lived on the estate for eight years and suffers from a number of medical conditions, including depression; she faces eviction in April.

“I have many severe medical problems, I have depression, I find it hard to walk, so I have to go to the doctor and to the hospital all the time,” she said. “My GP is here, I want to stay here. I am happy living here, even though the flats aren’t in a great state: there is damp, there is mould”

“The thought of leaving with no where to go has worsened my depression. I don’t have the money or the ability to rent somewhere privately. I don’t know what will happen to me.”

About the Author

Anna McKie is News Editor for the Brixton Blog and Bugle

7 Comments on "Guinness Trust evictions: campaigners hail victory but the battle is far from over"

  1. Stuart Black August 23, 2015 at 9:44 pm ·

    I live in Whitehawk, Brighton having exchanged a London & Quadrant flat from Bound’s Green in September 2013. I have family living in Herne Hill including a brother -in-law who grew up on the barrier black in Brixton and currently works as a driver in care homes. I had lots of friends in Brixton throughout the 1980s and half of the next decade having lived in Vauxhall as well as Streatham and Battersea.
    I have had a real problem with Guinness South as well and my opinion of the situation of what Guinness have done in Brixton is that they have used the current tenants for short term gain. This is partly due to government policy of wanting competition in rents between the social and private rented sector and as well due to cuts of expenditure in total of the social housing sector. There ought to be no shorthold tenancies in social housing as the whole ethos is one of assisting people in need and that includes those with disabilities and people with children. People who need some sustainability in their lives.
    I am an assured tenant and have had real problems with Guinness South. There was mould in the flat when I exchanged the flat in Whitehawk, Brighton and tenants were evicted from the flat above in autumn 2013. Guinness South used contractors based in Vauxhall, Axis, to survey and improve the flats. There was no prior communication instead they turned up in vans. There was an air-block in the water system and this led to myself having no water in the bathroom and toilet area. This also caused leakage into the flat opposite. My complaints of a leaking cistern were improperly dealt with instead this urgent repair as well as the need for a bathroom extractor fan being placed in planning. This affected the flat below. Guinness South also failed to redecorate the flat. I have both physical and mental health problems and am currently trying to exchange the flat closer to friends and family as these problems as well as closure in a local mental health day centre has made it really difficult to establish friendships and as well college courses that will effect my current and future possibilities of work. Guinness South as well assessed the bathroom area through a private occupational therapist and the work needed doing was not carried out.
    They surveyed flats through Waites with the surveyor failing to make any second appointment. I have experienced racism as well as verbal abuse due to my disability of mental health. from outside the flat.
    I am currently ii contact with a solicitor concerning these problems. I am as well writing poems and short stories concerning my problems with Guinness South.

  2. john hardman February 20, 2015 at 7:36 pm ·

    good luck. what they are doing typifies the tory greed and fxxk everone else. it is a form of social cleansing ,no doubt . it is wrong that people lose thier homes because of greed.

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