Last weekend Baron Homes Corporation Limited yet again revenge evicted a single mother from Windsor Court Brighton, the company illegally changed the locks and we understand have also refused to give the poor victim her deposit back.
There has been no paperwork given to Maggie in relation to the eviction or notice given, the council have failed
Shelter have confirmed that this is an illegal eviction and entitled to compensation on three separate grounds. This time we will win.
I was shocked that events were allowed to go this far, I tried everything to help Maggie this day, social services did not want to know which you can listen to in this exclusive recording with social services manager Indra.
Whilst I am not attacking social services in general here, I am highlighting a particular individual who I believe hopefully does not represent the Children’s Services Department.
I don’t know about you but that is not the way to help a victim in need.
EXPOSE BARON HOMES FOR THEIR CORRUPTION AND NEGLIGENT
There is a petition which has been set up to get the revenge evictions and other issues investigated, please can you sign and promote this petition.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE COMMENTS
My daughter was kicked out of one of their shit holes for complaining about damp mould ever where and a blocked sink and was told to keep her mouth shut and not to tell council how bad the place was if she wanted to keep a roof over her head she also received threats from the thugs who call themselves “the caretakers”
I’m signing because I lived here with Joey when he was 6months, black carpets, fleas, silver fish, damp! Was only moved a week before joeys open head surgery because I refused to take him back there after leaving Great Ormond Street! The place needs knocking down!
My friend is young, hard working and lives with her 8 year old daughter in one of their flats. The flat got broken in to on three consecutive nights a month ago. The door was kicked out the frame and the third attempt was through the windows (which don’t close let alone have locks).
Neither Baron Homes or the Council have repaired the door or windows rendering them homeless or unsafe. They’ve been living at mine to keep them secure. Baron homes even shared the internal pictures of the flat to a neighbour (which must be a confidentially breach) suggesting the place was a mess so how do they know if it had in fact been broken in to (despite three crime references and witnesses).
The mess was only due to her having lost her Mum a few weeks previous and inheriting all her belongings in to the studio flat in which they resided. The real joke is the police could not get finger prints due to the property being too cold at only 12 degrees!! The reason being that the windows don’t close and the heating doesn’t work. This costs her £650 a month. Disgusting!!!
Elected Councillors Have A Duty To Pressure the Council for the Urgent Report into Revenge Evictions
In November at the housing and new homes committee Green Councillor David Gibson passed an amendment asking for the council to urgently investigate the revenge evictions and provide the committee with this report urgently. Its now February and we have heard nothing, this amendment was seconded by Conservative Mary Mears.
Our labour council are failing around housing issues, we keep providing the evidence and nothing is done, they aren’t challenging the officers and double checking standards, they simply aren’t listening hard enough.
Last night through ETHRAG I was contacted by a severely upset lady who informed me after an altercation in which she was assaulted at the notorious Percival Terrace emergency accommodation in Brighton and Hove.
The 26 year old who has recently moved back to Brighton and Hove following domestic violence, was provided an interim duty to be housed by Brighton and Hove City Council under homelessness legislation. The individual has various vulnerabilities in relation to the years of abuse she suffered from family members.
Our service user was placed at Percival Terrace, the initial room she was placed in she describes as one of the worst rooms she has stayed in. below is an image of the mattress she was expected to sleep on.
I remind people that council contracts with the providers state that a new mattress is to be provided, her reason to complain to the council is valid.
The Incident At Percival Terrace
Our service user states that on the communal stairwell she was approached by an older male resident who told her to keep way from two younger residents, our service user states she is a mother figure and wanted to take the young care leavers under her wing so to speak. He then got verbally abusive and she immediately went to the office to report to staff.
Whilst in the office, our service user states that the hatch was open therefore the man saw she was reporting after started hurling abuse at her through the hatch, calling her fat and swearing. Our service user has an eating disorder and is displaying symptoms for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as a sufferer myself, i am well aware that people can trigger episodes.
Our service user reacted to the comment and left the office and confronted the man in the public hallway, which is covered by CCTV. She defended herself, and the man reacted by aggressively pushing her which hit her in the breast.
The situation then escalated and our service user states at this point she was refused help and that in fact it was tuned on her and the police were allegedly called. Although she never saw them.
Percival Terrace Reaction:
Percival Terrace reacted as they have done multiple times and simply cancelled the room with a reason which was completely one sided. Our service user was given just 24 hours to vacate the room and present to the council.
Angelique the manager for Helgor Trading Ltd said to our service user “my staff are not liars, I trust them 100%”
Back to the council
On Monday 16th Jan our service user went and presented to Brighton and Hove City Council, visibly upset and alone with no support, she felt the council were siding with Percival Terrace, I understand the police were called however they have taken the word of the accommodation provider and not her.
I have concerns around this, we have had a spate of revenge evictions in the city, whereby these providers whom are paid on average over £800 a month per person to house these vulnerable people, on one hand the providers are acting unethically and the council are being forced to clean up the mess, its unacceptable especially when many of the providers have no safeguarding policies in place.
We then accompanied the service user back to the council on the 17th January 2017.
The Meeting at the council 17/01/17:
Myself and Nikkie from ETHRAG went along to support the homeless victim at the council due to her being unsupported and at the mercy of housing staff whom are not listening to her needs. The interview started.
Me: Lets not worry about the issues, she is street homeless she cannot see BHT until tomorrow so lets just take steps to ensure she is housed tonight and not left on the streets.
Me: Under homelessness legislation you have discretionary powers to house.
Nancy BHCC: Please don’t be quoting me legislation, unfortunately we have discharged duty and there was a quite a kick off in here yesterday, i was sitting next door.
Me: You have discharged the duty and taken the word of a provider who has previously cancelled peoples rooms unethically, is that right?
Nancy BHCC: Yes, we took the other side of the story yesterday and it was decided to cancel the duty.
Me: But you have making a vulnerable young lady street homeless?
Nancy BHCC: You need to talk to the original advisor.
Well that was a complete waste of time, we waited patiently for another Advisor called Ross, Ross listened and went the extra mile to help our service user, even apologising for the traumatic experience our service user had the previous day.
In the meantime I contacted Cllr Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who is the ward councillor which covers Percival Terrace, he listened to our service users side of the story and the actions which were taken by Brighton and Hove City Council and ultimately came to the same conclusion, the duty should not have been discharged like the council initially did, she should have been moved pending an investigation into the revenge eviction / Incident.
Lloyd spend the afternoon talking with Brighton and Hove City Council management, he has issued a statement which I will publish below.
The council have accepted there was a mistake, however they did issue a warning to the service user, whom has confirmed that she accepted this warning on the basis that when she makes a complaint that as a resolution Brighton and Hove remove this warning and issue an apology.
Sadly due to the limited accommodation an the fact Percival Terrace’s mother company own five buildings in the city meant her options locally were nil, she was moved to a hostel instead in Eastbourne.
Our service user now will be in contact with Brighton Housing Trust who offer a legal help service, this is legal help under the homelessness legislation. They will be challenging the decision to move our service user to Eastbourne because why should a victim be placed miles away when its clear the failure lies with the accommodation provider.
The Lesson To Learnt
I feel the advisor Nancy at BHCC needs retraining, this is not the first incident in which people have felt she is more worried about turning people down than actually finding ways to help them.
Having spent all afternoon and morning in the housing department at Brighton and Hove City Council, I now have a wider awareness on the impact these revenge evictions are having on the council frontline staff, whose hands are sadly tied.
Whilst the council need to do more to stop the providers of emergency accomodation revenge evicting people, not only because its unethical but because the councils resources are limited and this time could have been spent with new homeless applicants who sometimes do not get seen.
If the city had a temporary accommodation board like Manchester and Newcastle, these incidents would turn into positives with new policies in place to protect the vulnerable.
” I’m happy that we were able to get it right in this instance, when constituents come to Labour Councillors we work hard to ensure that the council is working for them. Housing remains highly underfunded by national government, and there still much more to achieve to abolish homelessness in our city, but as a ward councillor we will contribute to work hard, with Labour’s lead councillors on housing and on homelessness and with council officers to improve and increase accommodation in our city for all”
Sadly because I am banned from contacting Helgor Trading Ltd, I wasn’t able to get a statement from them.
At the time of publishing I am still awaiting a statement from the Housing Spokesperson for the Green Party.
Set up in the 90’s after the conservative government introduced the Right to Buy Scheme Company No: 02930345. Baron Homes are everywhere to be found in Brighton and Hove today and have enough assets to launch legal action anytime someone speaks out.
I don’t have a pot to piss in, excuse the expression!
Since this company have been in operation, we have seen a huge rise in the private rental sector, the sale and loss of many council owned homes in Brighton and Hove, a huge rise in homelessness and the rise of the Private Sector taking ownership of Temporary and Emergency Accommodation.
The below image is just one example of linked companies buying up council assets for redevelopment into luxory accommodation, now a 1 bed is on the market for £950pcm – This compares to the average homemove rent of £300pcm.
The Hidden Homeless: File on 4 BBC Radio Documentary
Last night the BBC broadcast a 40 minute documentary focusing on the impact of living in Temporary Accommodation, the reasons for this including the sale of council owned properties and companies acting like cartels.
Latest government figures show councils in England took on 15,000 new homeless households between April and June this year – a 10 per cent increase on the previous year.
Terri and Angela two single mothers living in Windsor Court, Windsor Street Brighton, contacted the BBC regarding issues relating to the accommodation and to explain why Emergency Services are onsite, as reported by BBC Sussex a few weeks back.
Within days of this the mothers faced reprisals for speaking out, what they call as a targeted revenge eviction from Baron Homes.
Meet Terri who was quickly evicted by Baron Homes and removed from Brighton and Hove
Initially Ben Weisz Political Reporter from the BBC visited Terri at the notorious Baron Homes Accommodation known as Windsor Court, to discuss the number of Ambulance Callouts for the Property, which as you can see has jumped to about 2 per week in 2016.
On the 18th October 2016 another BBC Journalist Simon Cox contacted the family as part of a documentary around Hidden Homelessness, Terri wanted to speak out and help educate the wider public on what life is like living in Emergency Accommodation as a single mother.
Terri states – The caretaker from Baron Homes forced entry to flat 17 where we then were, and aggressively removed Simon Cox to the extreme of seeing him out the building.
Terri explained that at that time, there was nothing to written within the contract about not allowing media visitors at Windsor Court. Residents are allowed visitors during set times.
The next day 19th October 2016 Terri explains that she came home at 12:45pm to find her flat had been entered without prior notification or knowledge. She explains that during bad weather the door window pane was broken, and whilst she was unhappy they had entered her flat without prior notice, that getting it fixed was more important.
Then Terri explains –
The glass company contracted out by Baron Homes had decided to shave and cut the glass in my home, glass was all over my carpet and they clearly didn’t use dust sheets leaving glass shavings all over the entrance.
I rang Baron Homes and asked them to send someone out about this as I was now very upset whilst waiting for Baron Homes to arrive, I also called the Brighton and Hove City Council being placed on hold.
Terri then states that at around 13:03pm, she saw over her balcony Matt the Baron Homes Caretaker arriving alone, she says there was something different about him so ran to the second floor, then down to the first floor to meet Matt.
She explains that whilst on hold and on loud speaker, Matt started taking photos and then the council advisor answered saying “we are sorry about the wait”. Matt hears that Terri is on the phone to Brighton and Hove City Council.
Terri States –
He realises I’m ringing the council, he said – “you’re not still ringing the council are you?” I said, ‘well yes, I didn’t know this was happening and they’ve left my home in a mess and its dangerous,’
The Caretaker said sarcastically “you have a hoover don’t you?” Terri said “it’s not my job to clean that, it should not be there!”
The Caretaker walks back from the lift door, and says
Terri I’m talking to you as a friend, if you ring the council and complain I will tell Baron Homes you broke the glass yourself and you’ll have to pay £75. so Terri said “so you want to blackmail me? The Caretaker stated “No I’m talking to you as a friend, you complain and I tell them you lied”
Terri states that a week prior another caretaker called Ali informed the council officers who were doing an inspection of the property that the glass was broken by the wind.
Then Terri explains she said if Matt explains she broke this, that he would look stupid as it had already been reported as an accident.
The Caretaker Said to Terri “don’t call me stupid you fat bitch, I’ll kick you out then” Terri said “how are you going doing that though Matt? I’ve done nothing wrong, but come home to get pissed off and have you try blackmail and now threaten me? Are you joking?
Matt now moves forward backing me to the wall, I can smell the coffee on his breathe “hang up the phone!” (At this point two BLACK men open the door from 17 seeing matt backing me to the wall) Matt noticed them alerting me I shout, (Help! Can you hear this he’s blackmailing me!) Matt perks up shut up you stupid bitch ” the two men shout what’s going on? And Matt walks now towards them, I shout so now two MEN are here you want to walk away?
Angry because I was intimidated I called him a pussy and I shouted at him how dare he scare me and my child who was stood between us the whole time and then walk away when men come out because your behaving wrong! Are you joking come on don’t be shy now I shouted, as he walked down the stairs instead of answering me he simply shouts “shut up you stupid bitch your a liar, she’s a liar everybody”
Terri says – Now shaking and scared senseless I grab my son and keys and walk out to the front of the building in hope to catch the two men who had interrupted. As I left they were there, they asked me if I was okay and we had started to discuss what had happened.
Finally the Male council staff member answered around 13:15pm she states the Caretaker saw her speaking to the council officer and shouted ‘oi’ then said “just remember who they believe”. then passed her a room cancellation notice.
Terri States the Council staff member asked her to come down to the council. By the time she got there, she states her son was traumatised by the incident and wouldn’t take his hands away from his eyes.
She states that Baron Homes contacted the council made an allegation of 4 separate racially abusive incidents which was the reason they cancelled her room – Also they said because she didn’t pay for the window, which she didn’t break.
I have asked Terri if she had received any previous warnings in writing and she has stated no, Terri refutes the allegations and in fact defiantly went to the police station to report the incident with the caretaker. Which they couldn’t take further due to no evidence.
I contacted another resident who jumped at the defence of Terri and said
My neighbour has been evicted with just less than 24hrs notice.. On grounds of racism.. She’s not racist. Baron homes told the council that she has had 4 complaints of abuse towards contractors and abuse and racism towards staff.
She spoke to simon cox yesterday and again today after what happened . She made a complaint about her door being fixed without prior notice. The caretaker gave key to glazier who left glass shavings on her floor. She wants to make this even more public via
She has a four year old son. Cant believe they are doing this.
Whats happened to Terri?
She says – I’m now living in Seaford paying £40 a fortnight to get my son to nursery just so he can keep some stability! My son wouldn’t come home for days he was too scared.
I’m in a nice place it’s warm and clean, however I can’t have a Christmas tree for the second year running. Only difference this year is I can not allow anyone to buy him presents. For where am I to put them? I haven’t the room my whole life is now in boxes and bags in the corner of my now home.
I can’t unpack I can’t plan. I just have to go day by day wondering when I’ll get moved.
When did standing up for my rights actually do anything? I mean is having a voice in today’s world worth it. I mean all it’s done to me is take my home away.,Force me and my son into sharing a bed with no ability to watch tv on a sofa again.
I’ve had not a seat to sit on since February this year when I was moved into flat 6 from mouldy 45 which was large compared to my sorry state smaller flat, flat 6.
My son is four he is doing really well at school but this shit just keeps setting him back and me.
I have PTSD, I’m unwell and have been forced to moved again, to pack my life up in less then 24 hours and even had to move myself with no help to Seaford.
It took nearly the whole year to get better after the stress of last year to the point I had key workers coming from left right and centre.
Now I can’t say next year won’t start the same as this one. When will I get my forever home? When will my son get to be a child and have a home and normal bed time and routine. He’s the one that’s been punished not me!
I haven’t lost anything I have him, but for him, he loses friends relationships he’s built will suffer and have to be rebuilt eventually. It disturbs his behaviour at home he punishes me. He suffers not I! So why can’t they see that. Do what you like to me, my baby, boy you best keep praying cause I won’t stop I will rectify what my son has been through no matter what.
There are almost 2000 children living in temporary accommodation in Brighton and Hove, this the story of one. I know who I believe, especially with all the other reports about Baron Homes that I’ve been shown. Make your own mind up and remember if you haven’t already listen to Terri yourself.