A DISGRACED housing association landlord was defeated yesterday in the courts after attempting to evict a single mum and her two children for the second time.
Beti Mahari was evicted in 2015 from the Loughborough Park estate in Brixton by the Guinness Partnership — where she was paying £109 a week — because the estate was to be bulldozed for “regeneration.”
The family was rehoused to another of their properties in Kennington but moved from “social” to “affordable” rent — bumping up Ms Mahari’s rent to £265 a week for a two-bedroom flat.
Ms Mahari has had to rely on housing benefit because her earnings as a part-time waitress on a zero-hours contract were not enough to cover the 240 per cent rent increase.
She fell into rent arrears five months ago. After Guinness threatened her with eviction, it decided that she would pay £57 per week on top of her rent in a repayment plan.
Ms Mahari told the Star: “Initially they were seeking outright possession of the flat however they backed down because of my campaign and ordered a payment agreement hearing instead.”
Addressing her supporters outside Lambeth County Court where judges threw the case out on a paperwork technicality, Ms Mahari said that the housing association took her to court to humiliate her as a payment plan had already been decided.
The judge ordered Guinness to pay Ms Mahari’s court costs.
She added: “All I’m looking for is an affordable safe place for me and my children. Why am I here?
“When people interview me, they ask ‘why don’t you just move out of London?’
“But why should I have to? I’ve lived here for 30 years, my network and life is in London.”
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley, who was outside the court to support Ms Mahari’s case, said: “Beti’s struggle is not isolated. Thousands of people up and down the country are having their homes taken away from them.”
Piers Corbyn, brother of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, attended the court and warned that landlords are being given the “green light” to hike rents by moving tenants from social to affordable rents — which can be up to 80 per cent of market value.
Tenants are then forced to apply for housing benefit to cover their extortionate rents, which subsidises the landlords, he said.
He added: “This is the end of London as we know it. Regeneration of estates and the destruction of social housing is yet another route the super-rich are using to take everything.”