The independent London newspaper

Perverse for charity to evict its tenants

21 September, 2018

• WE have been shocked at the recent news that a charity which rents out blocks of flats in the borough is evicting tenants so it can develop the blocks to create more flats.

The Dame Alice Owen’s Foundation, an educational charity, is adding a fourth storey to its blocks in Friend Street and St John Street, near the Angel.

Among tenants who have received notice of eviction is a disabled part-time teacher. Private tenants no longer have any security of tenure, and landlords are not required to give any justification for eviction, so even model tenants, paying their rent regularly, have no protection.

But this example of an educational charity evicting a vulnerable teacher in order, presumably, to raise additional funds for its charitable work does appear perverse.

The charity’s trustees are the Brewers Company, who themselves do charitable work, also in education; their members include such well-known names as Heineken, Budweiser and Carlsberg.

The huge loss of council homes through right-to-buy, combined with housing associations moving into less secure tenancies at higher rents, as well as selling off properties, has pushed those who need secure, affordable housing into precarious private renting, which is increasingly unaffordable.

Landlords in the private sector inevitably exploit the unprecedented housing crisis in London to maximise profits, but this crisis has reached the point of tragedy if charities also use their position as landlords in this way.

We do hope that in this case a solution can be found which accords with the foundation’s charitable aims.



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