Property asset-strippers Butterfields E17 Ltd have declared war on the tenants of the Butterfields estate in Walthamstow, east London, again.
During negotiations between the current owners and Dolphin Living Trust, there had been a short truce between the landlord and the tenants. Eviction orders were, to everyone's relief, temporarily set aside.
But that has now ended. Dolphin, a large and expanding housing charity, has stated that negotiations have stopped. It appears that Butterfields E17 Ltd walked away, reverting to their previous policy of no-fault evictions in order to turf more than 50 tenants out of their long-term homes and onto the streets.
They have now sent both the secretary and chair of Butterfields Tenants' and Residents' Association (TRA) a new eviction notice, along with two other households. TRA Secretary Nicole Holgate commented: "It seems clear that they want to intimidate people. They want to undermine our campaign to stay by bullying and scaring vulnerable tenants into leaving voluntarily. They want to divide and conquer, driving out our leadership first, and then moving on to the next group of us. They'll then walk away with their profit, an estimated £3 million."
But the residents' association, the local Housing Action Network, and their supporters, will keep fighting. At a packed meeting on 25 May, the Butterfields Won't Budge campaign was unanimously re-affirmed, and new actions to resist the evictions were planned.
Linda Taaffe of Housing Action Network and the Socialist Party asked for anyone fighting a similar fight, whether a group or an individual, to come forward and join a campaign of mutual support for renters everywhere: "The landlords may have the law stacked on their side, but we have justice, and we have increasing support. The law must be challenged with collective action."
Ordinary people have had enough of being treated like their lives don't matter, their jobs don't matter and their children's schooling doesn't matter. These attacks are a form of social cleansing, and it is happening all over. Enough is enough. It's time to put a stop to it together.