After the Resistance?
So you successfully demonstrated against an eviction from going ahead, congratulations! What now?
It’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen after resisting an eviction, but drawing on our experience we have compiled a list of possible scenarios. We hope these are useful in planning your next steps.
1. Resisting an eviction can buy people more time in their homes, enabling greater time to look into finding alternative accommodation. Bailiffs can and do come back to reattempt evictions, often unannounced, however the time scale for this to happen really does vary. Though unlikely, county court bailiffs could return within a weeks time, sometimes drawing on police support to assist them with the eviction. In other cases, the bailiffs have taken much longer to reattempt the eviction, the longest time period that we know of was over a year between the first eviction attempt and the second. That said, it is impossible to predict when they will return. This is an important thing to consider for those remaining in the property after the eviction resistance.
2. In rare cases, property owners may choose to escalate the eviction order to the High Court. They will likely arrive very early in the morning and without notice. From our experience, and without exception, HCEOs are highly unpleasant individuals who seem to relish intimidating and bullying others, particularly those who are vulnerable. Different from County Court bailiffs, HCEOs will use tools and force to enter a property, such as smashing windows or kicking through doors. This can be a traumatizing experience for those inside. Thus, the possibility of this occurring once an eviction has been resisted is one that needs to be considered by anyone who remains in the property. Fortunately, unless you are squatting, the use of high court bailiffs is fairly uncommon in household evictions, most likely since tenants tend to comply with eviction notices whereas squatters don’t.
3. Some groups choose to resist an eviction as part of their housing campaign. Eviction resistances can be followed by a trip to the local council/housing association office whereby the group of resistors are collectively able to pressure the powers that be into taking their case more seriously. Some groups have used the resistance to launch a campaign to try and get their demands met. In the past, groups have used banners and leaflets to demonstrate at housing offices, got their story in the local press, started online petitions in order to get their voices heard. For some, this tactic has been successful and adequate housing has been offered, for others not. Some groups start to be known and feared by their local council, who find housing solutions very quickly as soon as they get involved.
4. Some eviction resistors choose to leave their home immediately after the resistance and draw on alternative housing options available to them such as staying with family and friends. In this case, it is vital to support whatever decision is made by the person resisting rather than push for them to remain in their homes. If they choose to leave immediately, then support can be given with arranging alternative accommodation and moving possessions. For many, demonstrating against evictions is part of protesting against the broader issues associated with the injustice of the UK’s housing market, social cleansing, criminalisation of squatting, and gentrification to name but a few. Resisting an evictions is not necessarily a means of keeping people in their homes for the long-term, but it is a good way to send a message: “kicking us out of our homes is not acceptable”.