Clerkenwell renters take their protest to their landlords
Tenants take on charity landlords
21 September, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Campaigners unfurl their banner in Fleet Street
HOUSING campaigners and residents have visited their landlord’s HQ, calling for evictions from flats in Clerkenwell to be reversed.
Residents who live in Friend Street and St John Street, alongside campaigners from London Renters Union, went to the offices of Daniel Watney, in Fleet Street, on Wednesday demanding a
formal meeting to discuss their future housing.
Daniel Watney acts as agent to the Dame Alice Owen’s Foundation, a charity which is looking to convert eight one-bed- room apartments into two- and three-bedroom flats.
The foundation funds projects at schools across the borough and financially supports Dame Alice Owen’s School in Hertfordshire.
One resident, Constance Usherwood, said she had been “pushed out” of Islington following eviction. “I’ve made a home here in Islington for the past three-and-a-half years,” she said. “I’m now having to live in south London.”
Ms Usherwood wants her landlord to help find her a new home in the borough if it refuses to reverse her eviction.
Patch Davies, an activist with London Renters Union who has been working with residents, said: “These planned evictions highlight the way the housing system is rigged in favour of landlords and investors and show that renters urgently need the government to repeal Section 21 legislation that makes it possible to evict us at a moment’s notice.”
A spokesman for Dame Alice Owen’s Foundation said it remained “utterly committed to acting in the best interests of its beneficiaries, Dame Alice Owen’s School and the young people of Islington, while leading the way as a responsible landlord in the borough, something that has not changed since 1613”.
He added: “After a prolonged planning consultation process, Section 21 notices have been served on some tenants to notify them, as per the terms of their tenancy agreements, that their flats will need to be vacated to facilitate the consented development and improvement scheme.
“The works are being undertaken by the charity to ensure the long-term fulfilment of its charitable objectives.”
Tenants had been offered help in finding alternative accommodation “as far as it is available”.
The spokesman added: “Some have taken up this offer and have been provided with alternative units, either in the same building or elsewhere on the foundation’s estate in Islington.”