A group of tenants who have recently suffered eviction at the hands of new landlords have joined with a local MP to condemn the actions of the poverty charity – the Glasspool Trust – who sold them.
As many as 15 tenants of the Glasspool Trusts received eviction notices, reputedly out of the blue, from a landlord they had never heard of. It transpired that the Trust had sold 63 properties to a private landlord – Butterfield E17 Ltd, owned and run by Jasbir Singh Jhumat and Pardeep Singh Jhumat.
Local MP Stella Creasy summed up the tenant’s feelings:
“This is a charity supposed to help people in deprivation. This isn’t particularly charitable, to say the least.
“It also shows the effects of people speculating on property prices. We now have people who will either end up on the social housing list, forced out of the borough, or into more expensive poor-quality housing. The council will have to pick up the pieces, one way or another.”
Much of the criticism of the charity does not actually focus on the act of selling the properties. As the Trust explains, these 63 properties were the last of their directly-owned portfolio. Their core mission is to provide grants directly to individuals and families in need, not to provide social housing.
As they explained in a recent press release:
“…the sale of the properties has meant that in the last 15 years the Trust has been able to increase the amount of money it gives away from around £200,000 a year to nearly £1.5 million a year, a 750 per cent increase. In 2014/5 this resulted in 5,300 grants, supporting more than 11,000 individuals and families in hardship”
Much of the criticism, therefore, stems from their handling of the situation. The Trust claims that they sought assurances from the developer “regarding our tenants, their rights and protection from our selling agents at the time of the negotiations”.
Those assurances, however, do not seem to have assisted the 15 tenants who must now seek alternative accommodation. With prices in Walthamstow increasing by up to 32% according to some sources, the fear held by local MP Stella Creasy that many will end up relying on the Council’s support may be well founded.
The Trust have stated clearly in their latest press release that they are “very saddened to hear that tenants have been or are in the process of being evicted” . They stress that “it was a difficult decision to take, but the Trust was not established as a social housing provider.”