Lawfully resisting being evicted from your home
By CJ Stone
previously published here
I’ve just been watching a fascinating bit of footage on YouTube. It is film of an eviction taking place in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. If you want to see it, it’s called “The People v The Banks: Conviction beats Eviction”.
The reason it’s so important is that in this age of austerity many people are losing their homes. What this piece of footage does is to show you how you can resist an eviction lawfully, and how in many cases it is the bailiffs who are breaking the law.
This was certainly true in this case.
The most important line is said by the man behind the camera towards the end of the film. He says that your signature when you took out your mortgage created the money to pay for the mortgage. He is addressing the police lined up across the road. “It was you who created the funds to pay for your mortgage,” he says.
Did you know that? Did you know that your mortgage was never a loan, but was actually new money created by the banks at the moment you signed the document agreeing to pay it back?
This is the fraud which lies at the heart of the banking system. Private money created by a private financial system to benefit themselves, not the people.
The banks have profited several times from the process. Firstly they profited when they speculated recklessly on the housing market, lending money that didn’t exist to people who couldn’t afford to pay, which was the cause of the housing bubble, which was the cause of the banking crisis, which nearly brought the world’s financial system to collapse.
Then they profited again when our governments bailed them out, rewarding them for their failure and allowing them to get away with their dubious practices, which is the cause of the depression we are in now.
Finally they continue to earn money from austerity, evicting people from their homes, taking over failing businesses, and profiting directly from the financial crisis they themselves created.
Very good post Chris, pointing out the 1% are in a win-win-win situation. All getting a bit greedy.
I seem to be having trouble forwarding this eviction thing. Also I saw the YouTube clip some days ago but could’nt find it again, can these things be pulled.
Ray, the clip is still there. You can access it using the link above.
Good video. The only problem I have with it is that the guy was lucky to have a police sergeant who was reasonable. An awful lot of police would just take the bailiff’s side – whether it was lawful or not. Remember Donald Trump and his golf course being protected by the police unlawfully?
Great post, yet another example of the banks/the rich profiting from the misfortune of the poor and vulnerable. Outrageous but who is going to do something about it?
We need proper separation of retail and investment banking. Personally I’d abolish the investment/casino bit because it doesn’t serve us well. I think we should return to the days of mutualised building societies and take mortgages/real economy loans off the banks. The only people who could do that, in the immediate future, are the LP so we need to put on the pressure for reform! As John McDonnell says to make it ‘safe’ enough for them to adopt.
One of the issues which Labour must redress is the ease with which landlords gain possession. The 1977 Rent Act gave real security of tenure but the Tories undermined this with the Housing Acts 1980 and 1988 which introduced the infamous shorthold tenancies. These give judges no discretion about granting landlords possession and now all tenancies are presumed to be shorthold unless otherwise stated. Gerald Kaufman promised Labour would repeal it but it never happened. The Tories said it was necessary so as to give little old ladies who wanted to move back into their properties protection – they had this anyway under Case 13 of the 1977 Act. It also was supposed to increase the supply in the private rented sector though no one has shown convincingly this has happened. It does encourage landlords a) not to do repairs and b) to put up rents because they know tenants will be fearful of challenging them in case their tenancies are ended and the courts have no discretion to consider tenant’s circumstances etc. Possession is automatic no matter what the tenant’s needs or circumstances, they can have been perfect tenants, no arrears. Why should possession be without recourse? It also throws a burden of rehousing onto the public sector, often having to place families in inferior private rent stock or even B&B – we all know the cost of this. But the Coalition protects landlords not ordinary people.
If Ed want to reform the private rented sector, we need that repeal. This also could have the effect of deterring rent increases that are unreasonable and bad landlordism and one doubts it would restrict supply. If it did, itn would be because bad landlords would not rent – and surely the new powers available to local councils could mean they could seek investment to create supply to meet need.
The Housing Acts 1980 and 88 need to go – I think there’s a ECHR argument. Article 8 is about respect for family life, home etc. The 1st Protocol to the ECHR is about private property. The current balance is unreasonably biased towards property rights – the poor old granny argument is easily answered. The landlord who e.g. buys to let does so for that purpose and not to live there so having tenants is his chosen exercise of P1 – should it always override A8? No sane society should agree that it must. Anyone listening? Ed? Remember the promise. Repeal and go back to the Labour way, the 1977 Act which protects both good tenants and good landlords.
Great information Jan. I’d love you to turn this comment into a post about what the LP needs to do and then put up on Think Left. Its all very well for the powers that be to pontificate about rented being perfectedly fine and the majority of Germans rent etc. But if there is no or little security of tenure, and little protection for the tenant, it is inhuman.