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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 February 2021

Multimillion-pound rental firm demands thousands from homeless asylum seeker

Lawanya speaking at the conference of the National Shop Stewards Network, Mary Finch

Lawanya speaking at the conference of the National Shop Stewards Network, Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

James Ivens, East London Socialist Party

A property firm with turnover in the millions is pursuing a campaigning asylum seeker for thousands through the courts. We say: Defend Lawanya - fight for tenants' rights!

Last August, Latha Lawanya Ramajeyam found herself unable to make rent on her room due to the legal costs of her asylum case. She duly informed her property management, City Rooms, that she couldn't continue her contract and would leave.

Unfortunately, tenancy laws are weighted in landlords' and letting agents' favour. Because her contract had no 'break clause', City Rooms is demanding several months of unpaid rent. With interest and costs, that's £2,850 - and rising.

City Rooms - the trading name of Oliver Walton Ltd - last year filed a turnover of almost £21 million for 2019, with reserves above £978,000. Its total profit was just shy of £895,000, with shareholders receiving £850,000 dividends.

Penniless

Meanwhile, Lawanya is penniless and couch surfing. She has offered her security deposit in full - but has nothing else to her name. City Rooms should face facts and set the balance aside.

And all this during the pandemic! The Financial Conduct Authority granted property owners the right to mortgage holidays. The government compelled councils to pull all the homeless off the streets. Tenant evictions were suspended. What possible justification is there for this claim?

Some rental firms may imagine migrant and asylum-seeker tenants more pliable due to their isolation and legal status. But despite her poverty, Lawanya is not alone.

Campaigner

Lawanya is an organiser for the Refugee Rights and Tamil Solidarity campaigns, and a member of the Socialist Party. The working class has an important tradition of defending its organisers from bullying and persecution, to prevent the boss class decapitating our movement.

We are therefore asking trade union branches to pass resolutions joining Lawanya's defence. We will also be contacting City Rooms tenants to get organised to fight their own problems - which appear numerous according to online complaints.

And the Socialist Party will stand as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in this May's elections on a programme to solve the housing crisis. For mass building of council homes and democratic rent caps. Secure tenancies for all, and the right to leave without extortionate debt claims!

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 3 February 2021:


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Launching a political alternative to cuts, poverty and job losses

Why I am attending the TUSC local elections online conference

South Yorks TUSC ready for electoral fight


What we think

Workers' rights and safety: Trade union mobilisation could force more Tory U-turns


News

Socialist Students open letter to Rent Strike network

Children in care: Privatisation is not working

Multimillion-pound rental firm demands thousands from homeless asylum seeker

Covid outbreak at Kent asylum detention centre: Napier is not fit for purpose

New anti-protest law: State forces want more power to crush the protests that are coming


Workplace news

Usdaw conference stripped of democracy by leadership

Usdaw Broad Left rally brings together those campaigning for a fighting union

Strong union lead needed to stop DVLA Covid spread

HMRC: We demand a pay rise without cuts to terms and conditions

Workers fight British Gas 'fire-and-rehire' plans

Vote Steve Hedley for RMT general secretary

The NEU's 'big announcement' - lessons need to be learned

Yorkshire aerospace workers strike against pay disparity

Workplace news in brief


The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto - A guide to understanding society, and how to change it


Rolls-Royce

1971: Rolls-Royce crisis - when the Tories nationalised in order to secure the interests of British capitalism


Readers' opinion

GameStop: Billionaires hurt at their own game

The Socialist Inbox


International news

Covid 'vaccine wars' underline failure of capitalist nation states to deal with the global pandemic


Campaigns news

New members meeting in the South West - preparing for the battles to come

Why I rejoined the Socialist Party

Help us raise the funds to fuel the working-class fightback

Save our square: we need social housing and public services

Stop Labour council's eviction of Stratford Circus arts centre


 

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Related links:

Asylum:

triangleTories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect

triangleCovid outbreak at Kent asylum detention centre: Napier is not fit for purpose

triangleKent: Chaotic privatised asylum process

triangleFight for jobs and homes for all - defend the right to asylum

triangleDon't blame asylum seekers for Tory cuts

Homeless:

triangleTories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!

triangleManctopia: billion pound property boom

triangleTV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families

triangleHomeless left on streets during pandemic

Socialist:

triangleUnion fight to save musicians' livelihoods

triangleSocialist Students conference

triangleDetermined to smash the fighting fund target to fuel election challenge in May

Tenants:

triangleTenants and workers unite to take on landlords

triangleEviction ban extension not enough: make it longer, forgive the arrears!

Socialist Party:

triangleInternational Women's Day rally, Sunday 7th March, 3pm. Click here for Facebook and Zoom links.

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