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My home should be my castle!

Comment 9th August 2010

Give me the power to enter my own home after sham squatters take over. See the below example, which is the third one in this area this year that i know of.

MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE – PLEASE BEWARE OF SQUATTERS

 

Dear Residents,

Please take great heed of the contents of this email.

Last Friday 6th August 2010 at about 17.30 hrs a group of East Europeans tried to break in and occupy 101 Mortlake Road, Ilford.  This house is right opposite me.  My wife saw them trying to get in and occupy this property. This property belongs to someone who was a dear friend of mine and who I had known for the past 35 years.  He sadly passed away about 8/10 weeks ago.

Not so long ago someone already tried to break into this empty house, using a crow bar, but did not succeed.  My wife saw the whole thing from our upstairs bedroom window and immediately alerted me.  I instantly put on a shirt and went to investigate.

When I confronted these 2 East European ladies, they spoke in very broken English saying that "they had a contract".  I challenged them and told them in no uncertain terms that "they were lying".  I asked neighbours to summon the Police.  Whilst waiting for the Police to arrive, one of the ladies put me in touch on her mobile to another East European lady who spoke semblance of good of English, who then proceeded to inform me that they had "a contract and that she had been in touch with the householder".  Another pack of lies, because I knew for a fact that no one occupied 101 Mortlake Road.   A Police van arrived with 3 police constables, a senior looking constable and 2 junior looking constables.  They heard what I had to say and were taking down details, when the well spoken English person turned up with a contract in her hand.  This contract was "not worth the paper it was written on".  It had fictitious names of people but the most important thing was it DID NOT contain any address or the amount of rent.  When the senior constable asked her where she had obtained this from, the response was "I went into a letting office agent in Barking asking to rent a property but they asked me to produce "bank statements", etc. when I could not, I left the letting agents office only to be confronted by a young black male, who offered me this contract and took £2000 from me".

I told the senior constable NOT TO BELIEVE A SINGLE WORD and that this was nothing short of a scam to occupy peoples properties.

I asked the constable to ask them for an address and GUESS WHAT the address they all gave was "18 Madras Road" which just 2 days ago residents in Madras Road had reported as being an address which was taken over by East European squatters.

Lo and behold on Saturday 3 residents reported to me that No.71 Mortlake Road (which is an empty property) which the owner is in the process of renovating was almost occupied by East European squatters.  The owner took a builder to the property to explain what he wanted done in the property and was absolutely shocked and flabberghasted to see the lock broken and squatters already in.  He immediately summoned the Police and got them out of the property.

Most of you will know what goes on in these properties that are taken over by squatters.  Between 20/30 adults and children live in them, including some in garden sheds, the front and rear garden is a dumping ground, there is loud noises until the early hours of the morning, anti social behavior by adults and children is very prevalent, etc. etc.  The Police unfortunately are powerless to do anything about evicting these people.  Once in, they trash the house and they make illegal use of gas and electricity.  The poor Landlord/Letting Agent then have to go down the Civil Litigation route, have to apply to a Court who may take anything upto 8/10 months to get back possession. This often would involve the Bailiffs accompanied by the Police to get them out, meanwhile the poor Landlord has lost 10 months rent and has to spend a huge amount of money on repairing the property, sometimes running into the thousands.

Today Sunday at about 12.30 I met and had an hour long chat with our Sgt. Douglas Fyfe of our Loxford Safer Neighbourhood Team, and it is he who has requested me to send this email to you all.  Any intelligence he and his tream gets from you will tremendously assist the Police and you, the residents in the long run.

"IF YOU KNOW OF A PROPERTY NEXT TO YOU, OR IN YOUR STREET THAT IS LYING EMPTY, PLEASE DO THE FOLLOWING

(A) INFORM THE LANDLORD/LETTING AGENT TO KEEP AN EYE ON THE PROPERTY AS REGULARLY AS POSSIBLE.
(B) IF IT IS YOUR OWN PROPERTY "SECURE THE PROPERTY" WITH LIGHTS THAT ARE ON TIMERS, MAKE SURE THERE ARE SUFFICIENT LOCKS

     IN PLACE.
©   INFORM MYSELF THE ADDRESS OF THE EMPTY PROPERTY/IES, SO THAT I CAN PASS ON THAT INFORMATION TO THE POLICE, WHO WILL

     KEEP AN EYE ON THE PROPERTY THROUGH POLICE OFFICERS/P.C.S.O.s
(D) IMPORTANTLY, PLEASE DO NOT REPEAT DO NOT TAKE THE LAW INTO YOUR OWN HANDS AND MOST IMPORTANT DO NOT REPEAT DO NOT
     PUT YOURSELF IN THE WAY OF ANY DANGER OR HARM, INFORM THE LOCAL POLICE ON 0208-721-2026 OR IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 999.

With the above, let us all make a joint effort to deal with this huge problem currently prevalent in Loxford ward.

If you have any queries on the above please contact me.

Thanks and regards

Councillor Filly K. Maravala
Loxford Ward Councillor &

Chair – Housing & Social Svces Scrutiny Cttee,
Phone 0208-708-9610 Council Extn 89610
Mobile  07973-524170

I had exactly the same experience next door to me with 22 "Romas" trashing the 3 bedroom house, causing the owner thousands of pounds of damage and their behaviour driving me away. It took 18 months to resolve.

Why should this happen? Why is it so common now? Why have we, law abiding, no protection?

We need a law that enforces immediate action.


 

Why does this matter?

When I bought my house I thought I owned it. Now, it appears that if it is broken in to and a piece of scrap paper is waved in front of the Police, I can do nothing. As the law takes so much time to act I could be homeless through no action of mine.


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