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Activists stage demo outside home of ‘rogue’ landlord

A RENTERS’ union staged a protest outside the London home of a “rogue” landlord on Saturday who is evicting tenants in Bristol during the pandemic, including a disabled woman.

Tenants Fi Jacobson and Phoebe Kemp, who live in St Pauls, were handed the eviction notice after they asked for repairs to their house when mushrooms started growing on the carpet due to damp. 

Ms Kemp, who uses a wheelchair, was forced stop using her room after experiencing a sore throat that she believes was caused by the severe damp. 

After making complaints to their landlady Shabana Kausar, the pair were issued an eviction order. 

They claim this was done in retaliation for asking for essential repairs, and now fear being kicked out in the midst of the pandemic. 

On Saturday, campaigners with renters’ union Acorn joined Ms Jacobson as she brought her fight to Ms Kausar’s house in Docklands, east London.

The protest was aimed at urging the landlady to stop “ignoring tenants” and to arrange a meeting with Acorn.  

Ms Kemp said: “All we want is for Shabana to meet with us and see that we are human beings whose mental and physical health have taken a toll due to her treatment, compensation for the time I couldn’t sleep in my own bed, and to not be evicted in the middle of a pandemic.”

The 30-year-old said her room became “unliveable” during lockdown because of the damp, but complaints were either “ignored or made fun of.” 

When she complained to the landlord’s mother, who was managing the property at the time, she joked that the mushrooms were a “free breakfast.” 

The pair are facing eviction under a section 21 notice, which allows landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason. 

Campaigners claim the notice allows landlords to carry out “revenge evictions” against tenants who complain about damage or needing repairs.

Acorn said it had seen a “huge increase” in section 21 notices since the government’s temporary ban on evictions came to an end in September and is campaigning to scrap them.

Acorn member Paul, who is involved in the campaign, said: “Nobody should be faced with homelessness for simply asking their landlord to do something about dangerous and unhealthy living conditions.”

Ms Kausar was contacted for comment. 

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