A Tower Hamlets pressure group will lead a demonstration outside the town hall this evening, to draw attention to the plight of private tenants in the borough.
Tower Hamlets Renters will be protesting to put pressure on the council, in the hope that the local authority will take action against landlords that carry out “retaliatory evictions”. They are encouraging members of the public to attend and help them convey their message.
The group believes that tenants who rent privately are at the mercy of under-regulated landlords who will evict residents simply for complaining about housing conditions or making perfectly reasonable demands.
The group said: “Please join us to demand Tower Hamlets Council put an end to retaliatory evictions in the borough as councillors hold their monthly full council meeting.
“Loyal and decent tenants face being kicked out of their homes in the run-up to Christmas for no other reason than expressing concern over unsafe living conditions unless action is taken.”
One tenant who represents what they are fighting against is Michael James of Chapman House, in Bigland Street, Shadwell
A tenant at the property for over 24 years, James is faced with eviction after reporting dangerous conditions in his building.
Earlier this year, James said: “There seems to be a one-way channel. The landlord and agent can get in touch with us if they want to raise the rent, but if my bathroom ceiling is covered with mould or a dangerous piece of concrete is lying on the pathway of the third floor, no one is there to talk to. They don’t have much interest in taking care of the property.”
When finally they did take an interest: “The landlord visited the building and I pointed out damage to the concrete slabs which you could kick off the landing and seriously injure someone,” James said.
“Two days later, I got an eviction notice.”
Tonight’s demonstration will call for the council to directly approach landlords such as James’ and remind them that a licensing scheme is soon to be introduced, as an incentive for them to change their behaviour.
The group then intends to attend the council meeting to question elected officials on the issues they have raised.