Council leader Lib Peck bows to community pressure and calls off eviction of vulnerable shortlife tenant Charmain Lodge

Charmain Lodge at town hall
VICTORY: Friends of Charmain and housing activists lobby Cllr Lib Peck at Lambeth Town Hall yesterday. Picture courtesy of People’s Republic of Southwark

The leader of Lambeth council has called off the eviction of a ‘shortlife’ resident just days before bailiffs were due to kick the ‘vulnerable’ tenant out of her home.

Charmain Lodge was granted the eleventh hour reprieve after angry residents lobbied council leader Lib Peck at the town hall yesterday.

Ms Lodge, who suffers from health problems made worse by the threatened eviction, was due to be evicted on Thursday (September 19) – but has now been given until November 1 to find new accommodation.

More than 400 people signed a petition against her eviction, and supporters claim her GP had also written to council officers asking them to cancel the move.

VULNERABLE: Charmain Lodge

In a letter to Ms Lodge today, Cllr Peck said she had asked lawyers to cancel the eviction. She added that officers would work with Ms Lodge to find new suitable accommodation, but that Lambeth remains “committed to recalling shortlife properties”.

Ms Lodge is the latest of the borough’s so-called shortlife tenants being evicted as the authority looks to clear all such residents from their homes to sell the housing to raise funds. Other high profile cases include legendary basketball coach Jimmy Rogers and the housing co-operative at Carlton Mansions.

Last week one Lambeth councillor, Helen O’Malley, slammed her Labour colleagues for failing to act with “care and justice” over Ms Lodge.

Cllr Pete Robbins, cabinet member for housing and regeneration, told Brixton Blog last week: “Every shortlife occupant has the right to become a council tenant on a secure lifetime tenancy in a property that meets their needs. The number of shortlife properties come down from over 1200 to less than 50, and we are working hard to address the individual circumstances of those few remaining former shortlife residents.

“Some shortlife properties have been sold for over £2m – so a single sale can pay for over 100 Lambeth properties to be brought up to the Lambeth Housing Standard.

“Money raised by selling shortlife properties will be invested in new, modernised and affordable social housing. Failing to act to address the unfairness of shortlife housing would mean cutting millions from the housing budget and fewer new affordable homes for local people.”




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  2. “Some shortlife properties have been sold for over £2m – so a single sale can pay for over 100 Lambeth properties to be brought up to the Lambeth Housing Standard.

    First thing here, is the fact that neither Peter Robbins, nor any other council officer, can show where ANY of the proceeds of the sale of our homes is actually going to. We try to get details on how the money is spent, but the information is not there. It is straightforward misinformation from Robbins when he states so categorically that the revenue will be used on housing. If it’s being spent on housing, Peter, please show us the evidence.

    One single property has been sold for £2M+, a large property that had housed a group of families for many years.

    Unfortunately, Peter Robbins denies knowledge of the appalling treatment the final family in Park Hill was subjected to.
    The devastating effects of the eviction on the family, the palpable mental, emotional and financial torment they are still experiencing, is heartbreaking to see.

    During the recall of their home, despite the family’s valid requests for temporary suspension of eviction, (partially based on the unsuitability of the rehousing that was offered) they were forced out.

    A cursory glance at the list of failures of Lambeth council, during the recall of the Park Hill house and the eviction of the Park Hill family, shows the family were subjected to treatment on a par with the disgusting way that Charmain has been dealt with.

    To rub this particular family’s nose in it even further, Lambeth appointed property guardians to live in the place before it went to auction. Property guardians are still there, and expected to stay for at least another year… So why were the residents forced out so brutally, and with such haste?

    To target and penalise a whole segment of Lambeth society is a crime being perpetrated against some of the lowest-waged, and most vulnerable people in the borough.

    The strength of Housing Co-ops has always been based on the strength of our communities, without the support of our friends and neighbours, many of us are facing a bleak future, courtesy of Lambeth council.

    What actions, on Lambeth council’s part, are acceptable in their drive for revenue? Does somebody have to be struck down and seriously incapacitated before Lambeth council examine the ruthless treatment meted out to Housing Co-op residents?

    Oh, hang on, one of our group has ended up seriously incapacitated… he suffered a heart attack and epileptic seizure a couple of days before he had to go to court to fight possession of his home. He’s only recently come out of a 2 month coma. You don’t get much more incapacitated than that.

    Lambeth council’s behaviour is barbaric.

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