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Brighton Journal | September 15, 2019

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Resident “faces homelessness” after unexpected eviction notice

Resident “faces homelessness” after unexpected eviction notice
Elizabeth Richardson

Local Brighton renter, Jim Haughey, believes his eviction notice comes after complaining to his landlord about the state of his rental property. Jim is a member of ACORN, Brighton’s Community & Renters’ Union, who have now launched a campaign in support of his case.

Jim’s was served a “Section 21” notice in June, a so-called “no fault” eviction that allows a landlord to evict a tenant without reason. Though the reason behind Jim’s eviction remains uncertain, ACORN believe that Jim’s case has the hallmarks of a “revenge eviction”.

When first being shown the property, Jim noticed the “deplorable” state of the garden. The outdoor furniture had rotted through, and its entirety was littered with bird droppings. Jim says he was told that the issues with the property would be resolved before his tenancy started.

Photograph of Jim’s garden

However, after living in the property for nearly two months, no changes had been made. He says he had regularly been in touch with his letting agency about the unfit state of the garden. Just one day after Jim’s last complaint, the landlord issued him a Section 21 notice. This has lead both Jim and ACORN to believe that his eviction must be in line with the complaints he’d been issuing.

Mr Haughey said:

The eviction came after a back and forth of emails requesting repairs and was a total surprise to us both. Since then, we’ve been searching for a new place and we’ve not been able to come to an agreement with any lettings agent or a private landlord due to the fact that we’re both self-employed and have a dog. Landlords don’t want us.

In effect, we’re facing homelessness, my girlfriend has lost a lot of hair due to stress and we’re both extremely anxious about what the future holds in store for us.

Photograph of Jim’s garden

Jim’s eviction notice comes amid the government’s intention to scrap Section 21 notices. The ban would aim to protect renters from “unethical” landlords and provide them with a more long-term security (BBC).

ACORN’s support for Jim’s case has most recently consisted a sit-in occupation of his estate agent’s offices on the 1st August. ACORN also fears the government may turn back on the Section 21 ban, and is encouraging renters to make their voices heard here.

Johnbosco Nwogbo, the ACORN Brighton organiser, said:

This is a pretty good example of the kind of conditions that landlords think renters should either put up with or face homelessness. We will not stand for any renters in our city being revenge evicted just because they asked a landlord to do their duty and fix problems.

Acorn is not going to stand down until the landlord does the right thing and withdraws the revenge eviction notice and gives Jim sufficient time to find a new place. Finding a new place in Brighton is difficult enough as it is. But it is even more difficult to find a place when you have a dog and are self-employed, like Jim and his partner. In those circumstances, the eviction notice is a ticking time-bomb of homelessness putting him in unbearable mental health distress.

Photograph of Jim’s garden

Despite ACORN’s support of Jim’s case, Johnbosco has said that the landlord has already expressed their intention not to withdraw the eviction notice.

Brighton Journal got in touch with Jim’s estate agent, who said they were unable to make a comment at the moment. Should they get in touch, we will report a follow up.

 

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