Image courtesy Cllr Pat Pacelli – Greenwich Council Cabinet Member for Housing
Eighteen families have been evicted from their homes in Eltham at short notice and left homeless.
A HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) housing round 40 people owned by a private landlord saw bailiffs arrive forcing families and residents into the street at Court Road without any apparent warning.
Greenwich Council scrambled to assist the families with the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing Pat Pacelli stating rent was taken from tenants when the landlord knew eviction was coming.
Part of 18 families’ worldly goods after a mass eviction today. We will find who took their rent knowing the bailiffs were coming. Council bus stands by to take them to a rest centre. Brava @laurendingsdale & Council staff for stepping up @MrOkereke pic.twitter.com/2E33DPbbHB
— Pat (@Pacelli1958) February 8, 2024
Another councillor Lauren Dingsdale (Labour – Eltham Town and Avery Hill) stated: “The landlord had taken £1000s from them in the last two weeks knowing they were going to be evicted. Children and babies made homeless.”
A bus was laid on to drive those evicted to rest centre.
Today was tough. I saw a post on Facebook that some families were going to be evicted from a HMO in my ward. I got there just as the bailiffs were arriving at 9am. With @Pacelli1958 and our amazing council staff we set up an emergency rest centre and all families have a roof 1/2 https://t.co/Oh5OGd27LF
— Lauren Dingsdale (@laurendingsdale) February 8, 2024
Not only is this episode extremely distressing for residents which now places their work life, schooling and social ties in a state of upheaval but also costs taxpayers heavily.
Greenwich Council – like all others – simply lack any spare council houses for those evicted. As covered many times homeless households in the borough have risen exponentially in recent years.
These families will now join 1,880 others in a state of not knowing what the future holds as life is put on hold.
The rise is up from 443 in 2015/16 as this extract below taken from a 2022 Greenwich Council report shows.
In October 2023 a Greenwich Council report showed that numbers are still rising sharply and now stand at 1,880 with vast costs being incurred.
Limited housing, high rents and few rights
A shortage of council housing due to limited building for decades and right to buy means many now live in extremely expensive private rentals or emergency accommodation – which is costing both residents in high rents and the taxpayer vast sums in support.
Rather than supporting the building of low-cost homes to any sufficient degree, Conservative government policy is actively helping landlords profit from a housing shortage with taxpayers picking up the bill.
Councils can simply not keep up, and lack funding to build at levels needed.
Without any reform of how private landlords operate ( reform again seems kicked into the long grass again by the Conservative government despite it being a manifesto commitment) as well as limited housebuilding, private landlords will continue to make large sums at the expense of private tenants and taxpayers.