Council’s attempt to ‘sneak out of’ court battle with evicted single mother fails

The council hoped to place all responsibility on the estate agent involved
By Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor

Izebela at a housing protest in the borough (credit: LDRS)
Izebela at a housing protest in the borough (credit: LDRS)

A last-minute attempt by Waltham Forest Council to “sneak out of” a court battle with a single mother they evicted last year has failed.

Izebela Kikosicka, 36, and her three children were forced to sleep in their car last November after being abruptly evicted from their temporary accommodation.

The family, originally from Walthamstow, were housed by the council in Bexley for three years but kicked out after refusing to relocate to Derby.

Izebela is now pursuing a civil claim against Waltham Forest and Bexley estate agent Elliot Leigh over the way she was evicted with only a few hours notice.

At her court hearing yesterday (13th April), held online before a judge at Bromley County Court, it emerged that the council’s lawyer sent an application to “strike out” her claim against the council with less than a day’s notice.

Their lawyer, Michael Mullin, argued: “We cancelled the booking and told the claimant we closed the booking, it seems to me that this is going to boil down to who sent the bailiffs in, and that was not us.”

Izebela’s previous bid to be returned to the Bexley flat was refused at a court hearing in December last year, after the council argued the judge would effectively be readmitting a “trespasser”.

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The council further argued that estate agent Elliot Leigh should also be included in the case and that the council may not have direct responsibility for her housing, as it was “booked” through an multi-council temporary housing scheme called Wren Housing Solutions.

Paul Powlesland, for Izebela, fought to keep Waltham Forest on the hook, arguing: “These were convoluted arrangements that did not reflect the reality on the ground. She had exclusive possession of a house for three years – that’s the practical reality, however they want to dress up. 

“She had possession for three years and was thrown out with a few days notice. We say that’s an unlawful eviction, we should not allow one defendant to sneak out of it unless one defendant accepts responsibility.”

District Judge Beatrice Prevatt agreed, saying Mr Mullin had not given enough notice and that the “convoluted” booking scheme used by the council was “not entirely clear” to Izebela and Elliot Leigh.

She added: “I’m of the view that the interrelationship between the council and Elliot Leigh would not be appropriate to strike out the claim at this time, especially since they were not given notice.”

The case was adjourned to a future date, for further legal arguments to be prepared by the teams representing Izebela, Elliot Leigh and Waltham Forest.

Speaking after the hearing, Izelela said she has since borrowed money to get a six-month tenancy in Bexley that started in January.

Commenting on the court hearing, she said: “In a weird way, I didn’t really expect anything from this hearing.

“After the first one in December I’ve realised that obviously no one seems to care and I’ve got no faith in this legal system.”

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