Council Tenant Faces Eviction Over Riot Claims

BethPH
By BethPH Last edited 80 months ago
Council Tenant Faces Eviction Over Riot Claims

One week on from the riots and the consequences for those involved are beginning to emerge. A woman in south London has been served with an eviction notice by Wandsworth council after her son appeared in court in connection with last week’s unrest.

Other councils, including Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster and Greenwich have said they will consider evicting tenants if their involvement is proven, but Wandsworth are the first to actually attempt to do so. Considering the fact that the mother (who holds the tenancy) was not involved and boy has yet to be convicted, this seems a rather excessive and potentially legally iffy response. And how exactly does it help anyone apart from allowing Wandsworth council to feel very pleased with themselves for being seen to Do Something? Pushing the problem onto another over-stretched local authority isn’t particularly helpful either.

Benefits claimants could also lose out in the rush to react to the riots; an e-petition calling for rioters to lose their benefits has reached 100,000 signatures and is being considered for a Commons debate. It seems like a reasonable response to many, but wouldn’t it be rather counterproductive? Take one already disaffected person living in poverty, add a dash of crime and rioting, remove means of support and the roof over their head, leave out on the streets for a while then in a few months time, complain when increased homeless and crime statistics are served up. As a method of trying to force people into jobs, it’s probably not going to be that effective.

Wandsworth council say the move will deter others from participating in riots but Stephen Howlett, of London housing association the Peabody Trust, said he thought courts were likely to find eviction of tenants caught up in the riots disproportionate.

‘We want the strongest action to be taken against those involved, but our preference is for the criminal justice system to be the focus.’

As is usual with any kind of high-profile embarrassing event caused by people, everyone from the government down are searching through their knee-jerk cupboard to find a solution to all society's ills. Snipe highlights a few of the ideas floated by MPs in the aftermath. We especially like the dye one.

Photo by Tom Kondrat

Last Updated 13 August 2011

Shibarg

Obviously we all will differ on the punishment but could I just point out that not all the rioters and thieves were out of work youngsters with 'no hope'.  Amongst them was a soldier, a teaching assistant and a carer with a child.  How many more had jobs or were school age?  Should not parents be held responsible for their children?  How many actually were 'no hopers'?  Current levels of punishment have been no deterent.  Would it not make someone think twice if, not only they were named and shamed but lost something substantial of their own?

Mark Thomas

My understanding is that the woman threatened with eviction by Wandsworth council has been active in helping to make the community in which she lives a better place through her involvement in several local charities.  Wandsworth have not even waited for her son - who is 18 - to be convicted, let alone demonstrated that she is in any way culpable.  Yes, some parents may be irresponsible in the way they bring up their children, but we can't assume that this was the case in this instance.

Marypatriciaswainson

The case of the woman who Wandsworth Council is threatening with eviction appears to be unjust and needs investigation.  

And what happens when people are thrown on to the streets with no means of support?

This will create more social unrest and will make the streets very unsafe.

Not a good look for the Olympics!

Raspberry Rabbit

Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters in council houses lose their accomodation because of something that one of the children has done.  The posh kids involved in the rioting presumably have families who own their own digs so once they've served their sentences they get on with things and life continues for them.

"Outraged of Tunbridge Wells" gets to vent his spleen against the evil chavs, their families and anybody like them because they are, after all, related by blood and therefore culpable.

Everybody knows this won't work, will create more problems and seems to run in the face of natural justice.  So we're doing it because it's a necessary part of the ritual of mob justice, because it gets the votes of Middle England.  It reminds me of the logic found in "Yes Minister".  It went something like:

Something must be done.
This is something.
Therefore it must be done.

The proper response to stupid, it seems should be "clever" - not more stupid.

Shibarg

According to the law, or so I understand, parents are responsible for their children up to the age of 16, so this particular 18 year old (and others) is, therefore, responsible for their own actions and should, supposedly, be the one punished.  To punish the whole family is unfair. 

Another point that strikes me is the fact that all the so called 'impoverished' are able to afford Blackberrys.