Ola’s story: Another uncharitable act by social housing charity Guinness Trust

Last Wednesday October 14, Ola defended his case to receive fair rehousing by the non-profit housing association, Guinness Trust, after being evicted solely for redevelopment purposes. Ultimately, the possession order of 13/4/15 against Ola was upheld. In addition to losing his home, he was charged £4,505.40 for losing the court case. The official presiding was final, with no further contesting possible.

Unlike past Guinness Trust Estate eviction cases,  Ola was not permitted to have moral support or witnesses join him in court. Instead, he was allowed to have one person accompany him in a small office rather than a court room. Guinness Trust persistently challenged the legal arguments that Ola had previously prepared and used with Lambeth Law Centre.

Ola put up a spirited defense of his case to be rehoused by Guinness, based on a verbal agreement between him and a representative of Guinness Trust in 2010 that he would be given a ‘Rent-to-own’ tenancy. This was recorded on a document that this person had with her (item 6). There were witnesses present at the time, but without the means to produce the document or witnesses, Ola’s case was rejected.

The Trust holds no moral obligation to rehouse Ola, despite its remit to provide social housing, and its status as a charity.

The case has been lost, and an innocent tenant has lost over 4 thousand pounds, but the fight isn’t over yet. We can still show our support by opposing the bailiffs when they arrive.

Photograph: Alexandra Waespi

Ola defending his rights at Lambeth County Court

Ola defending his rights at Lambeth County Court