A social landlord has been accused of ‘cruel’ and ‘shabby’ treatment of vulnerable tenants after forging ahead with evictions before alternative housing is found.
Hyde served residents of Kingsway, in George V Avenue, Worthing, with the first stage of eviction proceedings in January, amid a dispute with Worthing Borough Council over safety issues with the temporary accommodation.
The council struck an ‘in-principle’ agreement to avoid continuing with the evictions until the residents were rehoused.
But 14 families were unexpectedly issues with new eviction letters on Thursday (April 6).
Elentari Manning, 26, who lives with her three-year-old daughter, Maisy, said: “It just seems really cruel.
“We were all very upset. I suffer from mental health problems and it’s just not helping – it’s added stress and pressure.
“We don’t know who to trust any more. Hyde has given us false hope.”
Marine ward councillor Paul Yallop said Hyde’s behaviour was ‘shabby’ and claimed it was trying to avoid the expense of providing safe accommodation.
He said: “It seems the desire for making profit is being put above the social purpose of the landlord. Despite promises to the contrary they are now proceeding to throw vulnerable families onto the streets.”
The council continues to seek alternative accommodation for those affected.
Miss Manning said residents – some of which had been stuck in the temporary housing for nine years – feared they could end up back in emergency housing, like a bed and breakfast.
Council director for communities Mary D’Arcy said: “Discussions with Hyde have been ongoing to support the managed exit of tenants from the Kingsway property. This included an ‘in-principle’ agreement not to issue blanket eviction notices to all tenants, while the two parties sought to take this matter forward.
“Unfortunately the Council became aware on Thursday that notices had been issued to all tenants and we are at this time seeking to understand the background to this change in approach.”
Residents need to be moved to carry out works on the property, according to Hyde’s head of housing Tony Morgan.
He said Hyde had done ‘everything possible’ to support the council in relocating those affected.
“We understand the situation is stressful for the residents affected and would like to reassure them that we will keep them updated, providing advice and support throughout,” he said.
“The 14 households who have received the eviction notices are not expected to pay court fees related to this action. We remain focused on working in partnership with the local authority to find a positive way forward.”