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Landlords beaten by Islington tenants in David and Goliath battle

PUBLISHED: 17:55 27 November 2014 | UPDATED: 14:06 28 November 2014

MP Emily Thornberry (front) with Warren Levy (back)  and other residents of Sutton Dwellings

MP Emily Thornberry (front) with Warren Levy (back) and other residents of Sutton Dwellings

Archant

A battle between a landlord and tenants on an Islington estate has been won by residents after a David and Goliath struggle.

People living in Sutton Dwellings, in Upper Street, have been facing the prospect of leaving their homes following a string of rent hikes during the last two years.

Residents have organised protests and petitions imploring the landlord not to adopt the Governments ‘affordable’ rent model, which at 80 per cent of market rate would price many out of the estate.

The plea looked to be falling on deaf ears, but now Affinity Sutton, who own the estate, have given in.

Warren Levy, co-chair of the Sutton Dwellings Tenants Association (STAIR) who has lived on the estate for 40 years, said; “It’s good news and we are happy, but we are still concerned for the future.

“We’ll be keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t start cranking rents up again.

“While we were campaigning they never seemed to be listening and kept blaming the rent increases on the Government.

“All we were asking for was liveable rents, but some people faced and increase of £50 per week.

“Everyone was really worried.”

Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury, who wrote the Affinity Sutton’s chief executive on behalf of residents, said: “I am delighted that the housing association has seen sense.

“I would like to thank all of the residents who have been fighting so hard to see justice in this matter.

“This is a great result for fairness. Well done Sutton.”

The landlords wrote to Ms Thornberry to confirm that no new flats would be let at ‘affordable’ rents, rent on existing lettings would only rise in line with other council tenants and properties already let at ‘affordable’ level would have their rent frozen until in line with genuinely affordable rents.

Keith Exford, cheif executive of Affinity Sutton, said: “At no time have we considered increasing existing residents’ rents to 65 per cent of the market rent and neither was any resident ever facing an increase of £50 per week.

“This has been clearly explained in writing to both Ms Thornberry and those who signed the petition.

“It is extremely disappointing that local people have been misled by what can only be described as scare-mongering over rent levels.

“We have a strong track record of providing high-quality homes at rents local people can afford; indeed the rents of current tenants are protected by government regulation.”


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