Protesters demand council rehouse dad facing eviction

Around 40 people from the London Renters Union attended the protest outside council deputy leader Ahsan Khan’s surgery on Saturday

By Marco Marcelline

Credit: LRU

Renters from the London Renters Union (LRU) protested outside the council housing lead’s surgery in Walthamstow Central Library on Saturday (12th August) to demand the council to rehouse a dad facing imminent eviction from his rented home.

Petrus Burin, a front-line mental health worker, is due to be evicted from his home on the 28th August. He was served a section 21 ‘no–fault’ eviction notice in early 2022 . Around 40 people attended the protest to support Petrus, who is a member of the LRU.

Liam Miller, spokesperson for the LRU, told the Echo that cabinet member for housing Ahsan Khan spoke to the gathered demonstrators and resolved that he would be in contact “early” in the week to assist Petrus.

Petrus, whose daughter attends school in Waltham Forest, was served a section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction notice in early 2022. Section 21 is set to be abolished in the Renters Reform Bill that entered parliament in May. The LRU have argued that no-fault evictions by bailiffs are up 41% and that they continue to be a leading cause of homelessness.

The LRU held a protest in April earlier this year to call for the council to take action and answer Petrus’s homelessness application, which he had submitted a year prior.

Petrus said: “The fear of being homeless impacts me so deeply that it is easy to lose myself. The process has felt really hostile and dehumanising. I’m tired of feeling the emotional stress of not knowing where my daughter and I will live in a few weeks’ time. I just want a place for us to call home and move on with our lives.”

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Liam Miller from the LRU added: “The council must not leave Petrus and his daughter waiting and wondering where they will live any longer. After a year of shutting Petrus’s family out of vital support, it’s outrageous that the council is still failing to say when they will rehouse them or if it will be in the local community.

No-one should have to live with the threat of homelessness hanging over their head for months on end. We won’t let our members’ voices go ignored and we will continue to fight until Petrus and his family have got the secure home they need to carry on with their lives.”

When contacted for comment on what the council was doing to assist Petrus, cabinet member for housing and regeneration Ahsan Khan said: “After we were first approached by the resident, we advised that the eviction notice was not valid and offered to help get clarity from the landlord. Mr. Burin engaged with our services again earlier this year and a homeless application was triggered.

We have asked for a copy of the bailiff warrant he has received, which has not yet been supplied. Mr. Burin did not attend a telephone appointment arranged for Wednesday 9 August. We will contact him again this week to reiterate our offer and provide more information and advice about appropriate solutions to his housing issues. Our efforts to assist are ongoing.”

Cllr Khan added: We understand how difficult the threat of homelessness is for those who experience it. We always work hard using all the powers available to us to help those who approach us. We want to keep local people close to their friends, families, and support networks. Unfortunately demand for housing in London, including Waltham Forest, far outstrips supply.

“We are disappointed by the behaviour of the London Renters’ Union who disrupted a ward surgery on Saturday, depriving other residents of their chance to raise issues important to them with their representatives.”

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