Monday, March 23, 2009

Wisdom in the Sun

You can’t always say this about a story, but the most enlightened comments on this can be found in the readers letters pages of the Sun. The story is this one, published in virtually every paper this morning. A squatter requested a list of empty homes from Lambeth Council. The council correctly decided that it was obliged to comply with the request and duly (but reluctantly) responded with a list of 800 empty homes in its borough. The council itself, it appears, own most of the properties on the list. The press has been quick to condemn the council for releasing the information, but no one apart from the Sun’s readers have mentioned the real problem. Why on earth have Lambeth got 800 empty homes? When you hear, as I have, that some of them have been empty since the 1970s, and when you know, as I do, that Lambeth kicked out lots of short-life tenants last year because it wanted vacant possession of its properties, it’s hard to disagree with what these Sun readers say:

“Why have they got empty homes when people are homeless,?”
“Haha good teach the council a lesson”
“They should be fixed up and have tenants move in”“How many families are homeless who can’t have one?”


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. As I type I have the pictures of 6 empty properties in a row on my mobile phone from Lambeth Council. These council owned properties are at least 3 bedroomed houses in an estate and have been empty for some time as the gardens are extremely overgrown and derelict looking.

    Due to infringing on some people's privacy I will not post the pictures of these empty houses online.

    One person I know who had lived at their address in Lambeth (the house had been in the family for over 40 years) had been evicted by Lambeth Council due to the fact that both parents had died, first the father and then mother died and the property could not be succeeded three times as the property was initially in the father's name subsequently transferred to the mother who had terminal cancer and died approximately 3 years ago. This rendered the daughter homeless and she was evicted by Lambeth Council through the courts and had to sell up most of the furniture and 40 years worth of belongings in the house in a big hurry as the bailiffs were called in. The Council refused to rehouse her to a smaller accommodation and were only interested in taking the house, which is now a squatters paradise.

    The house lay empty for about 4 months and was broken into and has been occupied by squatters for the past 3 years free of charge.

    In the meantime, Lambeth Council's housing team in Brixton are next to useless at housing homeless people and they are rude and unhelpful. I know this to be a fact as I was homeless myself for 6 months with no help from them whatsoever having to sleep on a friend's sofa until I found alternative accommodation.

    There is a lot of mismanagement and disorganisation in Lambeth Council. This is a fact!

    I am sure other Councils are just as bad, but I can only comment about Lambeth because I have seen a lot of their mismanagement over a very long period of years and I know what I am talking about.