Category Archives: 2015

Supporter of Trace (Lambeth) goes door knocking to create Eviction resistance phone tree

After yesterday’s eviction resistance action in support of 35 years resident Trace in Lambeth, supporters went door knocking in the neighbourhood, to create a phone tree for resisting future eviction attempts.

Housing activists stop Lambeth bailiffs evicting a disabled woman - in photos - Lillieshall Road, London SW4 0LP, April 2015

This followup action was initiated by a single supporter:

“I went down there again today on what turned out to be a false alarm this time. A police van was seen driving past and Trace asked for people to come in case the bailiffs came after the reconnaissance.   I decided to use the time to do a little more than sit around to see if the bailiffs were going to turn up. I said I was going to canvas her neighbours to build a list of people who could be part of a rapid response if the bailiffs did turn up. A couple of other people said they would canvas as well.

I did one street over from where Trace lives. Most doors I knocked nobody answered, probably at work or too elderly to open the door to a stranger without an appointment. Those who did answer I explained I had come over from Herne Hill on what was a false alarm and what we were trying to do was build a rapid response team of local people who if they were around could lend support at short notice. Of the seven people I did speak to, six of them agreed to give their phone numbers and said they would walk round to Trace’s if they received a text saying the bailiffs were there.

The other people who went canvassing got an equally good response. This is an example of what building a movement means in practice, not relying on a small number of activists who will burn themselves out trying to respond to everything.”

Single tenant stops eviction with “calm assertiveness that something can’t possible be right”

A single tenant in London stopped his eviction a few days ago, non-violently and with “calm assertiveness”.

In his own words:

“I had the bailiff turn up yesterday to enforce the eviction, I explained that I thought the order was not valid as I had been to court and found out that all the previous paperwork had gone to the wrong address and I had been told by the court to submit this in an email.

The bailiff explained that being told by a clerk on the inquiries line is not the same as getting a ruling from a judge and therefore the eviction order was still valid. I explained that it cannot possibly be right to grant an order for repossession without the right to a hearing in court to contest it. He said that is what you put a defense claim form in for. I said the clerk had not told me this. He said clerks are not qualified to give legal advice, your solicitor should have told you what to do.

I insisted that without the basis for the judgement how could I contest it and that had been posted to the wrong address. He said it was his discretion and since I had made efforts to contact the court he wasn’t going to enforce the eviction now – but I should speak to my lawyer again.

Then he left and when I spoke to the estate manager/caretaker later he said that previously people had lost their tempers with the bailiff but a calm assertiveness that something can’t possibly be right works much better. I had a hammer behind the door though if they had turned up in force to change the locks.

I feel I’m still angry they can treat people like this, to them it is just another property to me it is my home. But it buys me more time, I’m not going to make it easy for these b***ards. I’m still determined to fight them in whatever way I can.”


And a few more words about his future resistance:

We have a group started and a day of action planned for with banners, press and the invite will go out for everyone to join us. The whole estate (apart from a couple of snitches) is aware of what we are trying to start.

I only did yesterday alone because I knew it would be easy, and getting people to take time off work when they didn’t need to seemed a waste.”

Long-term solutions are reached through organizing with neighbors and a series of little victories. Well done!

Turning a legal “defeat” into a real victory: The Sweets Way social centre has moved!

Cross-posted from

Sweets Way Resists responds to a predictably unfair legal decision and gets on with fighting social cleansing.

Today one of the most long-standing principles of British law was reinforced: that private property rights hold greater importance than human rights. A Barnet County Court judge decided to rule against our protest and social centre occupation on the Sweets Way estate, in favour of social cleansing property firm, Annington, even though agreeing with most of our arguments in the courtroom.

Not only did they grant Annington possession over the 160 or so homes of the Sweets Way estate, they even gave them an injunction against future protests taking place anywhere on the site! This is unprecedented and a worryingly draconian case for all involved in housing justice work. However, as long as private property is deemed more legally important than a range of human rights, this kind of thing will happen.

But what happened after the injunction is truly remarkable!

Upon our return from court, we found that the social centre at 60 Sweets Way had been emptied of all the things that made it beautiful. Meanwhile a new property – a five bedroom at 76 Oakleigh Road North, owned by Annington as well, but just beyond the injunction and possession zones – had been occupied and filled with all the makings of a new social centre!

There’s a Mexican proverb that feels appropriate for us today:

‘They tried to bury us, but they forgot that we were seeds.’

The courts may be stacked against us in the fight for decent homes, but the courts have never been where our power lies. Every time they try to shovel another heap of dirt on top of us and hope we’ll go away, we shoot up through the soil with another burst of strength!

So we lost in the courts, but we won in the homes of Sweets Way! And we’ll be here to keep the question of social cleansing on the agenda, and support one another as we fight to protect these buildings from demolition and secure decent homes for all those who have already been forced out of Sweets Way.

As always, come pay us a visit (We’re on Oakleigh Road North now, backing onto Sweets Way), send us food and household stuff if you are able to, keep calling Annington’s offices, and sign the petition to stop the demolition of Sweets Way!

Together, we can defeat giants!

Sweets Way calls for support against evictions

(cross-posted from People’s Assembly)

Barnet Housing Action Group are a group campaigning around housing issues in The Borough of Barnet, North London. We have been working with the Our West Hendon campaign for the past year and have recently joined the Focus E15 Mums in occupying a house on the Sweets Way Estate in the North of the borough in protest against the evictions which have taken place there by Annington Homes Ltd, the owners of the houses and land.


West Hendon is a council estate alongside a reservoir and conservation area known as ‘the Welsh Harp’. The estate comprises of a mix of 650 properties some secure tenancies, some private, some temporary non-secure tenants and also leaseholders. All of these homes are going to be bulldozed and replaced with 2000 luxury apartments – 214 of which – the non luxury of course – will be council flats.

The new luxury flats are being built alongside the Welsh Harp with beautiful views and open spaces whilst the secure council tenants are being moved into a block being built alongside the Edgware Rd in the middle of a gyratory one way system which used to be a car park. Their view will overlook the back of the mechanics garages and kebab shops on the Edgware Rd. Barnet council will not own the building, they will be leasing it from Metropolitan Housing Association. Barnet gave the land on which the West Hendon Estate currently stands to Barratt’s developers – FOR NOTHING!

The new development will be called Hendon Waterside but the West Hendon council tenants that get to remain on their estate won’t be anywhere near a drop of that water! The majority of people currently living on the estate will be ‘decanted’ to other areas; no one knows where until the very last minute of the ‘decanting’ process. The secure tenants still don’t know how much their rents will be and the leaseholders are fighting the Compulsory Purchase Orders put on their homes by Barnet Council which they are being forced to sell at thousands of pounds less than the market value. This scandal has prompted an 8 day public inquiry, the result of which is yet to be released. However even if the inquiry decides in their favour, Eric Pickles will have the last word on the final decision.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the borough – in the North of Barnet – we have a very recent campaign where a whole estate – 153 households, have been evicted because Barnet Council have given planning permission to the owners, Annington Homes, to bulldoze the whole estate and replace with 300 luxury apartments with zero social housing included in the new build.

The mix of residents housed there by the council in temporary, emergency and private accommodation have been dispersed, many out of the borough and many into sub-standard private accommodation, the majority against their will. We have seen a letter instructing a tenant to move to Birmingham the next day and know of one case of a tenant bullied into moving to emergency accommodation for just 10 days before being moved again to another temporary property with such short notice her son had to return from school to find their home boarded up and a neighbour waiting with a note to let him know the address of his new ’10 day’ home.!

There are only 10 families left on the estate now, all waiting for eviction notices and the atmosphere is like an apocalyptic scene from a science fiction film. The eviction process does not seem to have been explained comprehensively and neither was the process for accepting offers of homes to move to and for some this has resulted in them being discharged from the responsibility of Barnet council to re-home them. It is a crime to knock down these houses – they are all in pristine condition and were only built 45 years ago.

Private renting in Barnet is almost impossible and letting agents require a minimum of £36,000 a year salary, some £50,000 in order to be accepted to be on their books. In September 2013 there were only 6% of landlords that would accept tenants on housing benefit, now it is virtually none. There were 18,000 on the waiting list in 2013 and the council dealt with that by abolishing the list! To address this crisis they have recently built ‘3’ council homes, the first for 22 years.

At present they have an unprecedented consultation in operation whereby they are proposing to raise council rents to 80% of market value or to the London Housing Allowance which will mean that many of those in need will not fit the criteria needed in order to qualify for a council house as the threshhold salary needed to be earned will be above the minimum salary allowed to qualify for need of a council home.

We believe that the intention of this policy is that Barnet Council – on paper – will be able to show that no one is applying for council housing, which therefore in theory cancels out the need for homes to be built. This will then achieve their real agenda, to get rid of future council housing in Barnet completely.

In different ways both West Hendon and Sweets Way residents are fighting backagainst this social cleansing. As well as the public inquiry West Hendon have a petition demanding to see the viability report, that all residents be re-homed on the estate if that is what they wish, and they now have over 130,000 signatures, the largest petition ever recorded in the history of Barnet Councils existence.

Sweets Way ex-residents have occupied an empty house and also have a petition demanding that the houses are not bulldozed and to be re-housed in the local area. Annington Homes have responded with a County Court Possession Oder but also an attempt to put an injunction on all the land. The case was adjourned to give us more time to prepare our case.

We need your support on Monday morning at the courts. Annington have a well-paid team of lawyers who will use every trick in the book to not only evict the Sweets Way social centre, but also to criminalise protest across the whole estate (where families are still living). This is potentially setting a very dangerous legal precedent for future housing protests and freedom of expression more widely.

Come out and make it clear that we won’t stand by as our right to protest is trampled with our right to decent homes. We will not give up quietly so regeneration can carry on unimpeded. We will continue to shine a light on the social cleansing at the heart of Barnet’s housing policies and Annington’s ‘redevelopment’ plans!

Monday 30th March, 9.30am, Barnet County Court, St Marys court, Regents Park Road, N3 1BQ

Sign the petition


Shout-outs from the day of Eviction Resistance workshops

Shout-outs that people shared at our day of Eviction Resistance workshops:

Upcoming Events:

  • Sun, and Mon 30th, 9.30am: Sweets Way Resists in court, come and support!
  • Tues 31st, 7.00pm: Eviction Resistance organisers meeting – how to start the snowball? (location TBC, we’ll let you know)
  • April 15th: March for the Homeless


contact: to arrange your own screening (and should be available free online soon)


follow: @EResistance
support: help us spread the word about eviction resistance tactics! update us with your stories so we can fill our blog with examples of how this kind of action WORKS!

follow: @SueLukes

support: we’re setting up our own PAH-style eviction resistance group! if you are near Newham, come show support / solidarity / share experiences.

support: keep us up to date! we need to hear feedback from you to keep our knowledge fresh. bring us your court papers if you want legal help.

Housing Action Groups:

follow: @SweetsWayN20
occupy: 60 Sweets Way, N20 (077516 87326)
support: Come to Barnet County Court N3, Monday 9.30am. Or help us hold the occupied houses by coming to spend a night.

follow: @RadicalHousing
support: visit the website and find out if there is an action group local to you. if not, let us know, and we can support you to set one up! we meet once a month, usually first Mondays.

follow: @Fight4Aylesbury
occupy: call in advance to let us know, as they’ve heightened security (details on website)
support: fill in your objections to the development plans here:

support: Brand new group, with residents facing imminent eviction. Listen out for updates from Ravi, come and populate their photo shoot!

follow: @HousingActionSL
support: cause a stink at a fancy breakfast for developers – see above event

follow: @BoleynDev100 & @FoQMarket
support: sign the petition, come to our first meeting (see above in events)


support: we’ve become thin on the ground out in West London, so bring support / skillshares to our threatened estates and help us grow the movement out there

follow: @THRenters
support: listen out for upcoming eviction – we’ll need support!

follow: @FocusE15
support: Join the occupation at Sweets Way! Come to our street stall, Saturdays 12-2pm, Stratford High St (by Wilkos)

Plus Camden residents about to set up a new group, Peckham eviction resistors, Skills Network, Brick Lane Debates, Generation Rent, New Economy Organisers Network, Hackney residents, Lambeth Private Renters, Queen Mary’s & Birkbeck Universities, Real Estates, and a handful of radical filmmakers…

Stay in touch! (I’ve tried to find ways for everyone to find each other, but if you can’t find someone you need, let us know and we’ll connect you)

¡Si Se Puede!

Day of Workshops about Eviction Resistance

Join uson Friday the 20th in Hoxton for a day of skillshares, organised with Focus E15 as part of the Radical Housing Network:
Eviction Resistance Skillshare Day
Date: Friday 20th March
Time: 12-6pm
Where: PEER Gallery, 97&99 Hoxton Street

*12-1pm: Screening of Sí Se Puede! – a how-to-guide to Eviction Resistance from the PAH anti-eviction movement in Spain

*1.30-3pm: Housing and Tenancy Law with Sue Lukes (incl. Migrant Housing Law)

*3.30-4.30pm: Practicalities and Legalities of Eviction Resistance:  contributions from Advisory Service for Squatters, and Legal Defence and Monitoring Group.

*4.30-6pm: Learning from our Experiences: PAH-style group casework session with contributions from Sweetsway Estate, HASL, Robin from Kilborn Unemployed Workers Group, Focus E15, Our West Hendon, Guinness Estate, Skills Network, DIGS, Radial Housing Network and more…

These workshops are especially aimed at residents who want to learn how to protect their homes and their Right to Housing. Friends and supporters of the residents are welcome too, obviously!

Sweets Way occupation

A beautiful house has been occupied on the Sweets Way estate in Barnet. Come down to check out the estate, chat to some local residents, and help create a community space!

The Sweets Way estate is in the process of a total decant, with about 15 households left of almost 160. The houses are in perfect condition, but are due to be knocked down by developer Annington Homes to double the density with only 33 ‘affordable’ units. Residents have no right of return. The estate has been used as temporary accommodation for Barnet Council via Notting Hill Housing Trust, in some cases for up to 6 years. The residents are at the beginning of their political action together, and are currently coming together to discuss their collective demands of the council.

Occupied house and banners

This is yet another case of developers manipulating the class composition of an area to increase their profits. Residents who have been in Barnet for decades are being forced out, aided by council policy to force up rents to 80% of market rates. They are looking for support in this battle, so if you can get on the Northern line we are only 26mins from Kings Cross.

Check Barnet Housing Action Group and the Radical Housing Network sites, as well as @SweetsWayN20 twitter for updates.

First and foremost, it is the solidarity of people coming and helping out that will win back the homes in this community. Come meet us and support us!

VIDEO: the children of Sweets Way speak up:

Residents of Sweets Way resisted an eviction by bailiffs!

Barnet Housing Action Group held an anti-eviction protest at Sweets Way Estate on the 16th of February, resisting the eviction of four families, some of the last remaining residents in this site of social cleansing. The Bailiffs got scared off – showed up and drove away.

The FIGHTBACK has begun!!

Residents holding banners and waiting for bailiffs

Residents moved on to Barnet House Council Office, getting it under lockdown for two hours: but Barnet residents and newly homeless were refused entry by security.

Two newly homeless people and a witness secured entry for a meeting with Housing Officers….who have promised (on video) that each affected family will be contacted for a meeting this afternoon and be offered suitable housing locally. More actions planned this week – help wanted, including anyone with legal/advocacy experience!