Auction picketed by angry tenants

Article @ Morning Star, published 17 February 2016

Social housing tenants stormed into a luxury London hotel yesterday as their homes were flogged off at an auction being filmed by the BBC’s Homes Under the Hammer.

Residents of the Butterfields estate in Walthamstow had come to the five-star Marriott Hotel to picket the auction, where six homes were sold for £300,000 each.

Flats are being hawked by Butterfields E17, which acquired the estate from poverty charity Glasspool Trust for an undisclosed sum.

Tenants were not informed about the change of landlord until it was too late. A resident whose home went under the hammer yesterday told the Star: “It’s a shame to me, people trying to profit out of my misfortune.”

The man, who asked not to be named, had come with other tenants to see what would happen to their homes at auction. He said: “I was there when other properties on my street were sold, I was there when 236 was sold, I saw when 224 struck a deal for the property.

“They are the flats under mine.” Visibly in shock after leaving the auction, he said: “It’s an inhuman thing to do. Imagine if you have a family and you have kids with you, or even if you are alone, you still need a roof above your head.

“And even if you haven’t done anything, this roof still just been taken away from you just for the sake of making profit.”

Fellow Butterfields resident Nicole Holdgate said the picket received some sympathy from those attending the auction.

“No-one wants to be culpable for removing poorer people from their homes for a profit,” she told the Star.

Two of the Butterfields campaigners attempted to stage a protest inside the auction rooms, but were seized by security even before sitting down with prospective buyers.

Linda Taaffe and Paula Mitchell tried to reason with security but were eventually grabbed by the arms and pushed out of the rooms by a group of men in suits.