David Cameron "How much rent do People before Profit charge you?"
In the middle of February People before Profit squatted five residential properties owned by Lewisham Council that were due to be auctioned. The story was broken by the Brockley Central blog on 13th February. I commented on the blog the following afternoon (1.51pm) that:
"All social landlords (councils & housing associations) sell off properties that are regarding as difficult to refurbish. It has to be remembered that in order for a local authority or housing association to let a property it has to conform to far higher standards than the private sector. Secondly I strongly suspect that the weirdos at the Treasury would regard any monies spent on refurbishing these properties as 'revenue' spending which for some reason is bad.
Even the duffers at Lewisham Legal should be able to get the occupiers out of the properties in under a week, but I hope LB Lewisham will be open and transparent about why the properties are up for sale and ensure that their criteria for such disposals are up to date and fit for purpose."
Four weeks later there is no sign of Lewisham commencing proceedings for possession, nor more pertinently is there any sign of the borough being "open and transparent about why the properties are up for sale". This in turn strongly suggests that either their criteria for such disposals are NOT up to date and fit for purpose or that the relevant criteria were not applied. What little response there has been from Lewisham council reported here, here, and here suggests that the borough is avoiding the question. This is not merely an arcane political point as, if People before Profit or lawyers acting for new 'tenants' are able to resist eviction on the basis of the London Borough of Lewisham acting unreasonably and / or irrationally then the Catford machine will have to start taking its housing responsibilities seriously, something they have not done in years.
As for the photo, the Prime Minister was at Barratt's Renaissance development in Lewisham this morning.
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