A private business has bought almost a whole street in Walthamstow, east London—and put homes up for auction with residents still inside. The first evictions could be just weeks away.
Some tenants on the Butterfields estate found out about their new landlord by accident.
Others knew nothing until the menacing “notice to leave” letters began to arrive.
Sukran and Dogan Rashit have been given until 26 March to leave their home of more than ten years.
“We don’t know what will happen to us,” Sukran told Socialist Worker. “I have no money to put down a deposit on a new place.
“My husband and I aren’t young and we both have health problems. When you’ve lived in a place for ten years you know all your neighbours.
“My hospital, my GP and my daughter are all nearby. I can’t move somewhere new now. It’s frightening.”
The Glasspool Trust charity—which claims to be about “helping people out of poverty”—sold
63 homes to newly created developer Butterfields E17 Ltd.
So far not everyone faces eviction. But a Butterfields’ staff member told journalists that if the first properties sell well others are likely to follow.
They are up for auction for £350,000—described as “a worthy buy-to-let investment”.
The firm’s directors have set up a number of property firms in the past. Tenants found no sign of them at the listed address.
Glasspool claims to be “saddened” by eviction plans and to have “sought assurances” before sale.
But this is not credible. Tenants’ homes are a developers’ gold mine.
The estate sits in what estate agents are calling “Walthamstow Village”—a new hotspot in London’s overheated property market. Across Walthamstow rents went up 32 percent last year alone.
Tenant Nathaniel faces losing his home of six years.
He told Socialist Worker, “Prices around here have gone up well above what we’re paying. You’d need a higher income to stay—and if you don’t, you’re stuffed. Where do they want us to go?
“We’re being priced out of the rental market and the area. And what’s shameful is that this is all being done to make a profit.”
Sukran agreed, “It’s just private landlords trying to make money—they don’t care what happens to tenants.”
This is a familiar story across Britain, especially in London.
Property developers are transforming large areas—pushing out the poorest, then most workers, then all residents as luxury flats lie empty as investment vehicles.
Butterfields tenants have set up a campaign, held meetings and are preparing protests.
Inspired by successful campaigns, such as that around the New Era estate in Hackney, east London, they want to defend their homes.
This can be part of turning the tide of gentrification.
“The potential for a fightback is there,” said Nathaniel. “But only if we all fight together.”