Prevent Illegal Evictions in Hackney

On Thursday 11th October 2012, HCLC held a campaign and training workshop to raise awareness of the growing problem of illegal evictions in the last two years.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the problem may have doubled over the last two years.

Examples that the Law Centre has seen recently include:

  • A refugee who was beaten up by the estate agent and was evicted on 24 hours notice
  • A pensioner who was tricked of moving out of her room by a landlord on the promise that she could have room
  • A household with a disabled person where they were evicted illegally and spent 3 weeks sleeping in a park

 

The speakers at the workshop were:

  • Tom McCarthey, Campaigns Officer for Shelter currently spearheading Shelter’s ‘Rogue landlords’ campaign
  • Kelechi Ibegbule, The Team Leader from the London Borough of Hackney’s Council Advice and Options Department
  • James Bowen, barrister at Garden Court Chambers and Hackney resident
  • Nathaniel Mathews from Hackney Community Law Centre

 

 

The themes and activities included:

  • Training for non-lawyers on tenants’ rights when they are illegally evicted
  • The need for a co-ordinated approach reporting cases of illegal eviction- how local residents and agencies can work better with statutory bodies
  • A discussion of possible alternatives- in an era where squatting has been criminalised, whether there is a case for police also to do more to prevent illegal evictions
  • Discussion of whether the London Borough of Hackney should introduce a compulsory licensing scheme for private landlords
  • Case studies

Commenting on the workshop, HCLC Senior Housing solicitor Nathaniel Mathews (pictured above) said:

People say that weddings and moving house are two of the most stressful times in a person’s life. But being illegally evicted is one of the most stressful thing that can happen to a person. Illegal eviction is an offence which is rarely prosecuted. This event is a national first, delivering training and bringing together local residents together with other agencies to look at how we can deal with this growing problem.

The training pack of materials from the workshop can be obtained by emailing miranda@hclc.org.uk