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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 November 2014

Raging tenants evict rich landlord

New Era estate tenants march, 8.11.14 , photo Paul Mattsson

New Era estate tenants march, 8.11.14 , photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Brian Debus, Hackney Socialist Party

When a 200 strong march of London's New Era estate and their supporters posted a massive eviction notice on management's door, no one believed it would happen five days later.

Tory MP Richard Benyon and family, part owners of the estate, are the butt of much anger for hiking rents by 18% to over 600 a month.

Their company, the Benyon Estate, sold up after the demo - citing tenants' protests. Lindsey Garrett, chair of New Era tenants' association, greeted this as a victory for activism against the richest MP in the country.


US based investment company Westbrook Partners now solely owns the estate. It has responded by refusing to honour a pledge that rents would not rise massively before 2016. Westbrook wants to kick out all tenants, do up the flats, and let them at market rents as high as 2,400 a month. Residents fear eviction by Christmas.

Westbrook is a company with the table manners of a skunk. It was labelled a "predatory landlord" by tenants of its New York properties. Residents there have contrasted Westbrook's hundreds of millions of dollars' wealth with constant leaks, no hot water, no mailboxes and over 2,700 building code violations.

A massive campaign by the American tenants has won rent rebates of $600 each and a maintenance increase.

Speaking to the Socialist, Lindsey commented "they are trying to intimidate and evict 93 families on the estate. We will now take the fight to Westbrook, even if it means going to New York.

"They are trying to take us back to Victorian times. It is the people with money, not asylum seekers and benefit claimants, causing the housing crisis."

In Hackney, private rents are among the highest in London, averaging over 2,100 a month. One signatory to the Socialist Party's petition spoke about her neighbour. She has been divorced for four years and has three kids. She has had to continue living with her ex-husband in a two bedroom house as it is the only way of paying the rent of over 1,500 a month.

The Socialist Party demands that Hackney's Labour council:

■ Refuses any cooperation with Westbrook Partners

■ Opposes any evictions and makes clear it would refuse planning permission for preparations for 'market level' rents

■ Starts the process of compulsory purchase of the estate

■ Imposes borough-wide rent controls

■ As well as protecting existing social housing, initiates a mass programme of building new, publicly owned housing

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In The Socialist 19 November 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Workers unite to defend the NHS

Solidarity vital to defend trade union rights

Leaked document reveals union busting plan

Toxic mix in Rochester and Strood byelection

Rotten to the Greencore

Fraudster bankers couldn't give a Forex

The beautiful game looking ugly

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Unreported Nigeria: Class struggle and inequality

Israel/Palestine: Wave of rage answers new repression

Youth fight for jobs

We can defeat low pay and zero-hours!

Fighting for decent working conditions

Socialist Party workplace news

Labour councils attack organised workers

Campaigning against rail cuts and profiteering

Power station builders walkout over blacklisting

Local government unions accept shabby pay deal

Unison Wales FE strike ballot

Housing crisis

Raging tenants evict rich landlord

'We will not move!'

Students' victory in housing battle

Bedroom farce

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Teacher and health worker take fight to Oxford council

Bitterne walk-in's bitter win

NHS is going to the dogs

Readers' comments

Owen Jones: no answers

Socialism 2014


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