A major provider of temporary accommodation in Haringey is initiating eviction proceedings against households affected by the benefit cap.

In the last couple of weeks, some tenants of properties leased by Genesis Housing Association have received letters telling them that they would be seeking a Possession Order to evict the tenant. 

The letter does not specifically name the benefit cap as being the reason for writing the letter.  It talks of "significant changes ... to the Welfare Benefit system". But with temporary accommodation residents being exempted from the bedroom tax, it is surely the benefit cap that is of concern. In which case the action is wildly pre-emptive. The letter we have seen was dated before 15th April, the start date of the benefit cap. It would have been before any Haringey resident had received a letter about how much their housing benefit would be cut, before any arrears had built up.

The Guardian newspaper has also got hold of the story (Benefit cap leads to eviction notices in trial area). In their article, they have a quote from Claire Kober, leader of Haringey Council, calling this kind of behaviour from housing associations "completely unacceptable".  However, according to the letter from Genesis Housing Association, they were actually acting on information given to them by the "local authority" - in this case, Haringey Council. If this is true, why is the council passing on confidential information to the housing association, before they have confirmed the benefit cap calculations with the DWP and before they have notified the tenant of their calculations?

Also in the Guardian article, there is a quote from a Genesis spokesperson who says that the letter was badly worded.  But it doesn't matter how it's worded, the content is clear enough.  After making money out of homeless families for years, they are now trying to pull the plug on those same families. They have already gone ahead and issued claims for possession at the County Court.

What it would be worth hearing about from Genesis is the efforts they are making to negotiate with their landlords to reduce their rents. 

It is a disgrace that landlords think they can do what they like to increase their profits, and without a thought to the additional public and social cost of people being forced out of their homes, away from existing social and family networks. Housing is a basic necessity - it's not a luxury that we can choose to consume or do without. Landlords are in a powerful position, controlling access to such a basic need.

If you, or anyone you know, are affected by the benefit cap, or would like to organise for decent, genuinely affordable housing for all, then get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Links: Haringey Housing Action Group