A family of five, including a 15-year-old with Crohn’s disease, have been living in ‘uninhabitable’ circumstances for six years due to yet another incompetent landlord.
A video from the Bristol Post shows the moment the landlord was confronted by calm representatives from tenant’s union ACORN; the union were protesting both the state of the rental property and his intimidating manner.
The landlord’s response? To tell the family that they will be evicted.
Damp and mouldy
The damp and mouldy home in Easton, Bristol, has had a leaky roof for ‘at least 5 years’, according to tenant Manal Elamin.
The landlord had already been instructed by the council to fix a leak in the bathroom, which drips down onto a combi boiler in their kitchen. However, an improvement order demanding both this and other repairs hasn’t yet been entirely successful. Despite roof repairs two weeks ago, a recent rainy day revealed that the roof was still leaking.
“I’m scared here”
Manal explained her fear of living in the accommodation, telling the Bristol Post that:
“I’m scared here, scared for our health, scared that the ceiling will collapse,”
Her 20-year-old son Raed explained that his sister Dalal is in and out of hospital due to Crohn’s disease. The family are under hospital instruction to keep everything clean and tidy at home. However, their living circumstances mean that this is extremely difficult.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the family are desperate to move but unable to. Raed said:
“We look all the time,” said the 20-year-old. “We’ll be passing somewhere that’s new to let, and be straight onto them. But so many other people are too. And around here the rent is going up so there is simply nowhere else to go.
Bizarre rantings of a slum landlord
In a cruel and disgusting rant, Ahmed said:
“I am a citizen of this country, a born and bred Bristolian, and she’s nothing but trouble.
I’m a peaceful man and I get things done. I couldn’t believe what took place at my house. But I will evict them, absolutely – the notice is final, and it’s my right to do that, it is my house and I own it, and they have two months’ notice whenever I like.”
He also told the Bristol Post that ‘the experience of being doorstepped like that was an invasion of his privacy, and had left his wife and family very upset’.
It’s extremely hard to feel pity for this slum landlord. After all, had he simply repaired the house – as a responsible landlord should – then the family would have not had to involve a union.
Acorn have said that the problems faced by the family highlighted the issues for tens of thousands of people in rented accommodation in the depths of Bristol’s housing crisis. People are in fear of complaining about issues to landlords in case they are evicted for speaking out.
This is a common occurrence, certainly not only seen in Bristol, which is known as ‘revenge eviction’.
Just last week, Evolve Politics reported on a similar situation in Sheffield. One hundred protestors arrived at a family home to protest against an illegal eviction. It was issued after the family resorted to asking ACORN for their help in demanding gas and electricity safety certificates, crumbling walls to be fixed, and the property to be decorated for the first time in 30 years.
As the government fails, society rises
Everyone deserves a home that is habitable and secure. The impact of not having one is devastating on many family’s mental health. A lot of tenants around the country have experienced other horror stories of renting similar to this one, yet the government continues to ignore the problem.
With tenants union ACORN continuing to stand up for renters, it’s a huge relief that society still comes together to help each other out when the government fails to protect us. Surely, though, the people we elect to rule the country have more of a responsibility to ensure their citizens are protected?
- Join ACORN tenants union for free as an associate member. Donate as little as £1 per month to become a full member. The more donations they receive, the more families they can help
- Volunteer with ACORN. There are many ways you can help, for example fundraising, organising events, campaigning, social media
- Know your rights as a tenant
- Remember that there are better options for renters – we just need to campaign for a government who will ensure renters are protected
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