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Some of you may remember Patrick, who has been organising with us for the past 18 months to try and improve his living conditions. Patrick's dispute started when his letting agency, Youngs, refused to do basic repair works on his seriously dilapidated flat. In January 2018, shortly after requesting these works, Patrick was served with an eviction notice by his landlord, Stephen Mitchell.

Patrick successfully fought this eviction in court. In the meantime, we also pursued the council to serve an improvement notice on Mitchell, in order to legally compel him to carry out these works. Undeterred by the first failed eviction attempt, Mitchell tried again, this time with the help of a solicitor. Under much pressure, the council served an improvement notice on Mitchell, which should have invalidated the second eviction notice.

However, the council's environmental health officer for private sector housing, Martin Keane, served the notice to the wrong address for both Mitchell and Youngs, meaning that they were able to claim that they did not receive it and proceed with the eviction. Consequently, earlier this year, Patrick had to move out of his home of fifteen years. In the midst of all of this the son of David Pay, the owner of Youngs, turned up at Patrick's flat, forced his way in and assaulted him - all for daring to ask for basic repair works to a damp and structurally unsound flat.

Since then, Patrick and ourselves have been fighting for secure council accommodation. This hasn't been easy, and has involved pursuing complaints against the council both internally and via the local government ombudsman. We are absolutely thrilled to report that the pressure has paid off and that Patrick now has secure accommodation with a long-term council tenancy.

Through solidarity and mutual aid, we have the power to improve our lives!

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This article was published on 23 July 2019 by the SolFed group in Brighton. Other recent articles:

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