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Camden accused of triggering ‘no fault’ eviction despite Section 21 opposition

Council chiefs say they need homes for people on waiting list for social housing

12 July, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Daniel Coftas answering questions councillors at Monday’s meeting

A COUPLE told to leave their flat after Camden called for it to be used to house people on their waiting list for council housing say they are the victims of the “no fault” evictions that the council is supposed to oppose.

Daniel Coftas, 32, who has lived in a One Housing Group (OHG) home in Frederick Street, King’s Cross, on private rental rates, led a deputation against so-called Section 21 evictions to Monday’s full council meeting.

“These unfair evictions are morally wrong no matter what the justification used,” said Mr Coftas. “Although we all agree on the importance of creating new social housing, we do not agree that displacing any people is right.”

He said the couple had broken no rules and been model tenants, but were told to go with “a one-sentence email that contained no context or explanation”.

The Labour council passed a motion earlier this year opposing Section 21 evictions – and outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May also called for them to be banned. Members of the Renters Union and other housing campaign groups were in the public gallery to support Mr Coftas.

Council chiefs, however, say it is a special case and claim OHG had mistakenly let a flat on the private market which the council had “exclusive nomination rights” for. Camden has the right to place people in at least four OHG homes on the street.

Housing supremo Councillor Meric Apak said: “I know how inconvenient it is to be asked to move, I know this personally, but under the circumstances it would not be right to deny a family in need of a social home, who has probably been living in unbearable conditions for years or even decades.”

OHG said the private market letting of the flat had been temporary, and raised money to invest in social housing. A fixed-term tenancy had now expired, the housing association said.

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