Local MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy today (15 December) called for a halt to plans to evict more than 100 households on the Clapham Park Estate with less than a month’s notice.
Property guardians at Riley House, Bruce House and Plummer Road off the South Circular were issued with 28-day eviction notices on 8 of December by Global Guardians, giving them until 7 of January to get out.
Global Guardians finds people to secure properties for Metropolitan Thames Valley housing association by living in them.
They are now contemplating having to postpone Christmas plans to search for new homes.
Several say they were issued with eviction notices while already abroad with their families.
Others face the prospect of cancelling expensive flights and missing family reunions.
With Covid cases at an all-tine high, many residents are also isolating, meaning they have even less time to find new accommodation.
They are asking for an extension to the eviction date, highlighting the impossibility of finding new housing, and especially more affordable guardianships, at this time of year.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy has written to both Global Guardians and Metropolitan Thames Valley, urging them to halt the evictions and listen to residents.
“The threat of a Christmas eviction is causing huge distress and disruption for Clapham Park Estate residents,” she said. “28 days is an unrealistically short time frame for people to find new housing at the best of times.
“With Christmas and Covid, it’s going to be virtually impossible.
“It’s very irresponsible to be driving this change through in the midst of rising infection rates.
“Instead of rushing through these evictions, Metropolitan must rethink its completely heartless decision, halt them and give residents enough time to find new places to live.”
Richard Chinn, a property guardian facing eviction, said: “We understand that we are contractually only given 28 days’ notice to leave, but doing it over Christmas when there are number of public holidays and most letting agents are shut is so callous and cruel.
“Surely there must be some duty of care that these companies have not to throw people out into the streets in the middle of winter.
“If they have waited seven years or more, what is another month or so?”
Monica Bruno, another property guardian facing eviction, said: “I have been a guardian at this property for eight years.
“I have paid my rent every month even when I was left jobless during the first pandemic.
“Receiving such shocking news on a two-line long email made me both sad and angry.
“I’m heart-broken and scared, because I am forced to find a home at a time that this city stops to celebrate Christmas.
“My mental health has definitely been affected.”
Alexander Watts, also a property guardian facing eviction, said: “Joining as a guardian we all know there is a 28-day notice period.
“They also say they’ll find you somewhere else if and when that happens.
“We’ve been model guardians since the start and now we are being kicked out on the same day over the Christmas period when they have just one property to go around in the area.”