Tenants celebrate as deal ends eviction threat

The Butterfields Won’t Budge campaign was supported by more than 4,000 people

Butterfields Won't Budge

Supporters of the Butterfields Won’t Budge campaign. Credit: Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

Dozens of tenants who had faced eviction are celebrating a reprieve after a housing trust stepped in to buy their leases.

Sixteen households at Butterfields Estate in Walthamstow had been given eviction notices earlier this year and many more faced a similar fate following the decision to sell them.

But now Dolphin Living, the same organisation which took over the New Era estate in Hackney when they too were facing eviction, has signed a deal to buy the leaseholds of 49 homes at Butterfields.

Tenants and campaigners from Butterfields Won’t Budge, as well as their many other supporters, say the deal has come as a huge relief to all concerned.

Linda Taaffe, secretary of Waltham Forest Trades Council which backed the Butterfields campaign, said: “What an absolutely marvellous victory for the tenants – against all the odds!

“These families have struggled to carry out their normal lives under a terrible threat of losing their homes, at the same time as organising together all kinds of imaginative protest activities.

“The planned fundraiser ‘Boogie for Butterfields’ on Friday 25th November at Orford Social Club might well be changed to a victory celebration!”

Adrienne, from Butterfields Tenants Association, added: “Thank you to all involved and making us realise we were not powerless to resist.”

Butterfields is a 1930s housing estate which had been put up for sale in November last year by former landlords Glasspool Charity Trust, an anti-poverty charity, to a newly formed company called Butterfields E17 Ltd – without prior warning to tenants. A petition against the subsequent evictions was signed by 4,000 people, while legal proceedings were also begun by residents, some of whom had lived in their homes for decades.

When news of the evictions broke Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy lent her support. Reacting to the news of Dolphin Living Trust’s deal she said: “For the last ten months residents of the Butterfields Estate faced a very uncertain and frightening future following the threat of eviction following the decision of the previous landlord to sell their homes.

“Dolphin’s purchase of these properties and decision to become part of our Walthamstow community by becoming their new landlord offers a new start and stability for these families. It’s taken time to negotiate to get the right deal for them, but I know people across Walthamstow will be pleased to hear of this development and keen to welcome Dolphin to our borough.”

Dolphin Living is part of Dolphin Square Charitable Foundation, an independent charity established in 2005 with a £120million endowment. It claims to support key workers in London who need affordable homes in the city.

Although Glasspool Trust is remaining the freeholder of Butterfields, the lease agreement with Dolphin as the estate’s new landlord will ensure tenants can remain.

Jon Gooding, Dolphin chief executive, said: “I am pleased to confirm the completion of purchase of the leasehold interest in 49 homes in the Butterfields Estate.

“Our commitment and charitable objectives are to provide affordable rental homes to working Londoners who are becoming increasingly squeezed in a city where house prices and rents are becoming unattainable.

“While our focus remains on bringing homes to market for those who live or work in the City of Westminster, we have taken the decision to invest in the Butterfields Estate at open market value.

“This means that there will be no further evictions of tenants for at least the next five years, coupled our commitment to ensure that no unrealistic rental increases are activated during this period – capped at five percent per annum.”

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