Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has criticised a local charity for “unacceptable” behaviour, following its decision to sell off 63 homes to a private developer.
After announcing the winners at the Walthamstow Housing Awards on 20 February, Creasy said the local housing market is damaging everybody. The middlemen – the estate agents – were seen to be hitting both landlords and tenants with unaffordable charges.
While estate agents were condemned for high fees, rents and lack of transparency, the most outrageous behaviour was displayed by Glasspool Charity Trust.
The charity came under scrutiny last year when it unilaterally decided to raise the rents of its properties in Butterfields estate by £150 per year, forcing many residents out.
Then in January this year, residents learnt that the charity had sold their properties to a developer when they received notices of eviction.
Members of the estate are campaigning to stay in their properties.
Many of the residents have been there between 20 and 30 years and have spent their own money on renovating the properties.
Now, all of the residents on the Walthamstow estate face eviction following the sale of the entire estate to a newly listed company, Butterfields E17 Ltd. It is estimated that the charity made £17m from the sale of the estate.
At the Walthamstow Housing Awards, Butterfields resident Sylvia said: “They are breaking up a community. We are all very happy at Butterfields. We’ve spent money on summerhouses and beautiful gardens. Our children are going to schools here, and they are being forced out.
“Glasspool is supposed to be a charity that look after the poor but they’ve sold out to private enterprises. They are selling us down the river.”
Unbeknown to the residents at the time, some of the properties were being auctioned “as vacant” at the Marriot Hotel in Marble Arch.
Speaking at the awards, Creasy said that a private sales and letting agent called Clarke Hillyer, based in Loughton, has said they will evict every family on the Butterfields estate.
Referring to Glasspool, Creasy said: “As a charity, they have a different set of rules that they should abide by. Their behaviour has not been acceptable.”
Some of the Butterfields estate residents have already left their homes. Other residents have received notices of possession that give them until the 20th and 26th of March to leave.
Both Glasspool and Butterfields E17 Ltd declined to comment.
The E17 Butterfields campaign will hold a public meeting at Shernhall Street Methodist Church at 7pm on Wednesday 24th February.