No proper consultation on big changes to tenancy agreement

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Gang members will be evicted under new rules being pushed through by Hackney Homes.

The revised tenancy agreement was drawn up in response to the August riots last year.

John Calderon, former chairman of the Federation of Hackney Tenants and Residents Associations, has called it “draconian”.

The terms make gang activity a breach of the tenancy conditions.

Hackney Homes is proposing a new tenancy agreement that would allow landlords to evict known gang members. Photo: Susannah Butter
Hackney Homes is proposing a new tenancy agreement that would allow landlords to evict known gang members. Photo: Susannah Butter

A gang is defined in the document as a group that consists of at least three people and uses a name, emblem or colour that enables its members to be identified by others as a group, or is associated with a particular area.

But Mr Calderon said the document has not been publicised enough and many residents are not aware of its existence.

He claimed that not all tenants received a copy of the proposed agreement, which has not been revised since 2004.

Only nine per cent of tenants returned a consultation survey to Hackney Homes.

“It represents the largest shift in tenants’ relationship with the council ever but is written in legalistic language, making it difficult to understand,” said Mr Calderon.

He said it is wrong that more efforts were not made to make sure each tenant was aware of its significance.

There are also new rules about what breeds of dog tenants can keep. Pitbulls and American Staffordshire Terriers are now banned.

But there is no borough-wide elected tenants and residents organisation through which Hackney Homes can negotiate the rules with tenants.

Deputy Mayor Karen Alcock said it was was not in the interests of Hackney Homes to create fear. She said the consultation process had been extended by a month because she recognised the need to liaise with residents on important decisions.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Andrea

    According to the definition in the article a football team could be considered a gang: more than three people, uses a name (and perhaps a football shirt) which differentiates them from other teams, associated with a particular area… Seems to me that the definition Hackney Homes have adopted covers a huge range of associations, whether a gang, a political organisation, a band, or a sports team. While the report states that people will be evicted for ‘gang activity’, it seems that what people will in fact be evicted for is who they associate with. And with such a broad definition it’s now alleged gang members but in the future this measure could be used against any association Hackney Homes (ie the Council) doesn’t like the look of.

    Perhaps you should have read Martin Togher’s comment before posting.

  2. Well done Hackney Homes. This is long overdue. I know from personal experience that gang members cause terrible problems for good neighbours and communities. Pressure should now be put on Housing Associations in Hackney to follow suit and introduce the same rules, allowing them to evict tenants linked with gang activity.

  3. Seems a typical knee-jerk reaction by Hackney Council. There are already tenancy conditions in place about asb and crime . And do they want to evict someone for being in a gang whether or not they have actually committed a crime ? And what constitutes a gang, should Hackney Twitchers be concerned about their tenancies? Should hackney trainspotters disband?

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