Illegal evictions: The first step is admitting we have a problem

HackneyRentersSo when the head of Housing Options , the Hackney Council department that deals
with private landlords, read a meaningless speech about how his team ‘goes the
extra mile’ for Hackney’s private tenants, we had to speak up. His words simply don’t
match our experience, no matter what the council’s PR department says. One of
our members said she had been illegally evicted three times in eight years and her
requests for help from the council have been ignored each time. The council turned
her away, telling her to call Shelter for help. Kelechi Ibegbule, head of the team
that’s supposed to step in when this happens, looked suitably embarrassed.
Here at Digs we know that councils are under-resourced and struggling to do
their best without enough staff or money, but if they could be honest about the
challenges they face – instead of giving us the PR spiel – it would be a whole lot
easier to believe they’re on our side. We’re working for the same cause: they should
be telling us what stops them doing their job properly, so we can help – not sticking
their heads in the sand and pretending there isn’t a problem. There is.
The session was full, which is hardly surprising. With ever greater numbers of