Star date: 10th February 2012


Salford Council is one of the only local authorities in the country to try and legally evict families and friends of rioters from their social housing, after Wandsworth Council backed down from such draconian action.

Five tenants have been subject to legal action by Salford Council which has been heavily criticised for its stance. And so far, no-one in Salford has been evicted by the courts…

Full story here…

After August's riots across the UK, local authorities and the Government were queuing up to say they would evict convicted rioters from social housing. Housing Minister Grant Shapps tweeted "I will back social landlords who evict tenants involved in any rioting", while Salford and Wandsworth councils were determined carry through their stance.

In Wandsworth, attempts to evict the mother of a convicted rioter were met with demonstrations outside court and the council subsequently backed down. Here in Salford, the Council has taken legal action against five tenants and, with two cases still to be dealt with, no-one has been evicted by the courts.

Social housing website, Inside Housing, recently identified the circumstances of the five tenants who lived in Salix Homes properties and were subject to Notices Seeking Possession, or NSPs, with the Council seeking court evictions (see here). 

The website explained… "In two of the cases the person convicted was the boyfriend of the tenancy holder, while a third was the brother of the tenancy holder who had since moved out of the home. The other two NSPs were served on households with joint tenancies where one of the tenants was involved in riot-related crime during last August's civil disorder…"

In other words, people who were not involved in the riots were being penalised by association with those convicted, a move heavily criticised by both housing campaigners and human rights advocates.

In the Wandsworth case of Maite de la Calva whose son was convicted for rioting, the human rights organisation Liberty, which defended her against the council, issued a statement calling the council "cynical" and "shameless"…

"Wandsworth Council's threats to make an innocent family homeless are as cynical as they are heartless" said Emma Norton, Liberty's lawyer "Ms de la Calva has committed no crime and if she lived in a mortgaged house she would not face such bullying. Whether in a mansion or a flat everyone should be equal before the law."

Eileen Short, of Defend Council Housing, echoed the sentiment… "It is neither just nor acceptable to administer a second round of justice just to social tenants" she said.

So far, the courts seem to be backing away from legal evictions for rioters. Salford Council told the Salford Star that "in response to the events last August, one tenancy has been terminated prior to the case being brought before the court; a further tenancy has been terminated by agreement without the need for a court order; and the court has awarded a suspended eviction order for another tenancy conditional on the future behaviour of the tenant, their family and visitors…"

Questions must be asked as to whether the first two cases that were settled before the cases came to court were the result of "threats" and "bullying" to which Liberty referred.

Salford Council added that "The courts will shortly be considering a request from the council for a further two possession orders…"

Should the courts back Salford Council and grant the evictions, it might well open the legal doors for parents, girlfriends, friends and wider family holding social housing tenancies being evicted for association with any person living at the property who is convicted for any crime… It's a legal minefield.

John Merry, Leader of Salford City Council told the Salford Star

"Everybody has a responsibility to stand up and protect our communities and that includes tenants being responsible for those that live or visit them in their homes. If this person commits an offence, for example, as in the case of the riots, then legally the tenant is responsible and they would be in breach of their tenancy agreement.

"On this basis we have taken legal action against five tenants, three cases have been resolved and two are currently being considered by the courts. With every case that we have dealt with we have taken a balanced and considered approach and as such no families have been evicted as a result of the riots, but we have taken legal action to ensure this behaviour did not happen again.

"We do not accept the assumption that if a tenant lives in social housing, they should have to tolerate the actions of a criminal minority. Salford City Council and Salix Homes are committed to working with residents to ensure that their communities are protected and respected."

* Liberty is urging anyone threatened with eviction as a result of the riots to contact them  – click here for further details

* See previous Salford Star article on riot sentences with comment by Zac Challinor's mum - click here ...

She wrote on the Salford Star website... "He had a good up bringing and I work and have done all my life. He was just going through a bad patch in his life which he found it difficult to deal with. He accepts the consequences and is willing to pay the price. He will serve more than a couple of months. He has asked about doing some sort of course to equip him for finding work on release but nothing like that is done in Strangeways yet I understood jail was supposed to rehabilitate the prople who go there. Please don't pass judgement on people you don't know and just remember there but for the grace of god go I..."


Matthew wrote
at 5:44:24 AM on Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Mary, let me explain something to you. The difference between the actions of the rioters and the actions of the MPs and bankers is as follows. In most cases, the rioters stole items worth a few hundred pounds at the most and yes, in some cases destroyed some people's businesses. Not very nice, I agree, and thoroughly deserving of punishment. The MPs, on the other hand, made fraudulent expense claims which in a large number of cases ran into the thousands of pounds, with the hard-working taxpayer being expected to foot the bill. As for the bankers, their greed and ineptitude, aided and abetted by a population which collectively bought into the myth that they could have it all, and the good times would last forever, caused an economic collapse that has brought misery to millions, yet are still being offered million-pound bonuses. Slightly different from robbing booze from supermarkets and setting fire to a few cars, wouldn't you agree?
Fadge wrote
at 9:59:07 AM on Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Mary , you really need to take off the rose-tinted glasses , and stare into the corruption of the real world . The corrupt and venal MP-scum stole, and doubtless still do,from the taxpayer . They did not steal just 'a few quid'. It was mass fraud . They go unpunished . The corrupt and venal bankster-scum wrecked the economy through greed and self-interest.The taxpayer was forced to subsidise them . They go unpunished . Ordinary people, the majority,are being forced to endure austerity, joblessness, inflated prices,many even poverty .This is all deliberately engineered by the 'elite' . Rioting has its root cause in this. Deny people any hope , eventually some resort to crime . Can you see now that the criminals are the Smart-suited Looters in the 'elite' ?
Ian OBrien wrote
at 9:17:44 AM on Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Mary. Having read your later comments, and especially having gotten an idea of your feelings with regards MP's thieving from their employers (us) and how it is really only a small thing considering how many billions are floating around the economy (I am interpreting again). Having read these comments, I can only say, with hand on heart, that I was not nearly patronising enough in my first comment. I now know that there is no point debating with you because your moral compass is so out of whack that you would have trouble finding the toilet in your own house. You have zero understanding of why these disturbances took place, nor how our society helped to create them. Have a nice day in whatever world you live in. I bet it is always sunny and little girls are made of sugar and spice lol
Mary wrote
at 11:50:37 PM on Monday, February 13, 2012
Fadge and Matthew, I do understand the seriousness of MPs expenses, and specifically to Fadge I did differentiate between bankers and MPs because they are completely different issues, linked or not. Whilst MPs fiddling expenses is wrong and a serious crime, they aren't directly harming anyone other than themselves when it comes out and their job is at stake. They take relatively small sums of money when you consider how big the British economy is and the government funding pool, and it doesn't even cost the tax payer 1p per head for every unlawful claim (that isn't a defence by the way). A big crime, yes, but I can't comprehend how anyone can say it is worse then the riots as the implications are minimal. Riots have a much bigger impact both short term and long term, especially in Salford- a place with already high crime rates and a worsening reputation.
Matthew wrote
at 11:57:48 AM on Monday, February 13, 2012
Mary, you are right in that staring at porn is nowhere near the same level of criminality as destroying someone's home and livelihood. The biggest crime of the grasping MPs is their profound arrogance in believing that they could take, take and take again from the hardworking taxpayer, that nothing would be done about it and that they were answerable to no-one. We, the electorate, effectively act as the employers of these MPs, and they were stealing from us for their own gain. In any other occupation that I can think of, theft from your employer is a sackable offence. It seems that MPs operate according to different rules. In any case, I see the MPs and their overpaid bankster mates as being part of a cartel, with the aim of keeping wealth, power and priviledge in the hands of the already wealthy, already powerful and already priviledged, i.e. theirs.
Fadge wrote
at 10:13:08 AM on Monday, February 13, 2012
Mary , You fail to understand the seriousness of the economic desecration that has almost destroyed this corrupt and rotton society , caused solely by the greedy bankster-scum and their greedy MPscum chums . Mass unemployment , mass business collapse,economic chaos , misery , hopelessness , despair, joblessness . They have created a society of No Hope , and they are unpunished . What the rioters did was wrong , but nothing in comparison to the Almost-Destruction of society caused solely by the corruption and greed of the 'elite'.
Mary wrote
at 9:13:07 AM on Monday, February 13, 2012
Ian, love, thanks for being so patronising but if you read the article properly, as you told me to do, then you'd find that it doesn't say anywhere that the two cases settled were those of relatives. Indeed if you read between the lines it could be suggested that the two that have been settled were directly involved with the riots, because they are having trouble to do anything about the relatives! But you can interpret how you wish, and thats how I've chosen to interpret it. I do feel sorry for the relatives, right down to just being related to such scum. Matthew, whilst the bankers and MPs are committing serious crimes, I don't think its fair to say they are more serious than the rioters. In particular the MPs aren't affecting anyone directly other than the 'tax payer' by effectively taking pennies out of the billions in the system. The banker situation is a bit different for crashing the economy, however my point is the riots have had a direct impact on some peoples lives. Many have lost their livelihoods and their homes and for what? There was a family on the news last week who owned a shop facing the precinct. They lived in the flat upstairs. The shutters were ripped up and their shop and home set on fire. They have lost everything (including customers computers which may contain a lot of valuable information) and are now living in a hotel, even 8 months on. How can you compare that, for example, to Jacqui Smith's husband spending money on porn?
Matthew wrote
at 5:52:03 AM on Monday, February 13, 2012
Fadge, I agree totally. The corrupt MPs and banksters are all thieves, all out to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor, and should be dealt with in exactly the same way as anyone who robs from a high street shop. In fact, they should be dealt with more harshly, as their crimes are more serious. Unfortunately, this is HIGHLY unlikely to happen as there is one set of laws for the rich and the priviledged in this country, and another completely different set for everyone else.
Ian OBrien wrote
at 3:21:32 AM on Monday, February 13, 2012
".....being responsible for those that live or visit them in their homes...." This small part of Merrys statement highlights, perfectly, how ill equipped this man is for any kind of office at all. What he is suggesting here, though he doesn't even really know he is doing it, is that we should all be responsible for, not only relatives who may live with us, but also for friends who may visit. I have many friends who have been to prison and many who are charged with offences and awaiting trial. Is Merry saying - and I put this question to him, should he dare respond - that I should be punished and held responsible for the crimes of the wider society purely by association? Is this man sane? Does he have any understanding of the statement he has made? He claims to be a Labour man I take it? Is he a Starlinist then? This is what he sounds like to me. Can somebody enlighten my on this, because what this so called Labour supporter (and, oddly, huge friend of big business) is saying sound like the insane ramblings of some mad dictator - not the holder of small pubic office. John. I dare you to try and clear this one up. I dare you to respond.
Ian OBrien wrote
at 3:20:36 AM on Monday, February 13, 2012
In the comment - Mary Wrote - she says this: "Its not as though these rioters were threatening or bullying others is it?" Mary. Did you read the article? Or, did you make any serious attempt to understand it before rushing to your keyboard and hammering away? It is not a questions of what the so called 'rioters' did or did not do. This piece of work is not even concerning the rioters. It is all about the entirely innocent family members who are to be made homeless despite being, as far as we know, innocent of any wrong doing whatsoever. You really should try to think it through before you post your misguided, ill informed comments love.
Fadge wrote
at 10:45:26 PM on Sunday, February 12, 2012
So , Matthew , Where's the law for the corrupt MP's and corrupt banksters who have evaded corruption and fraud charges ? They broke the law and made other peoples lives a misery .
Mary wrote
at 10:45:16 PM on Sunday, February 12, 2012
"Questions must be asked as to whether the first two cases that were settled before the cases came to court were the result of "threats" and "bullying" to which Liberty referred." Hilarious, you couldn't make the irony up. Its not as though these rioters were threatening or bullying others is it? Brilliant reporting there, Salford Star, and the stance this publication is taking on the riots, for a publication that is supposed to support Salford, is absolutely disgusting
Matthew wrote
at 12:05:05 PM on Sunday, February 12, 2012
I do understand sympathy and compassion, I just don't have any for those who choose to break the law and make other people's lives a misery. My sympathy and compassion is reserved for people such as pensioners who can't afford to heat their homes due to over-inflated utility bills, or for ethnic minorities who are insulted, assaulted or even murdered by racist bigots, rather than for people whose greed, false sense of entitlement and lack of basic respect for others leads them to mug elderly people for their limited pension money or shoplift from businesses in the midst of a riot. Perhaps if we had a little less sympathy and compassion and a little more condemnation and punishment we might have a more law-abiding society.
caroline wrote
at 5:10:25 AM on Sunday, February 12, 2012
My heart Bleeds for any mother or father in this situation.There is no more u can do.other than be there for him.Hope they relly do rehabilitate.For all u who condemm .Be carefull out there .it could be yours
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 5:08:26 AM on Sunday, February 12, 2012
Mattthew, I doubt that sympathy or compassion are concepts you would understand.
Fadge wrote
at 2:55:37 AM on Saturday, February 11, 2012
When will the courts deal with the MP -scum fraudsters ? When will the courts deal with the corrupt bankster-scum who wrecked the economy ? Will their homes be raided by plod ? The fairness and impartiality of british 'justice' makes me puke . This is just about the 'establishment' unleashing their feral 'justice' against the disenfranchised .
Matthew wrote
at 2:00:27 PM on Friday, February 10, 2012
I have no sympathy whatsoever for the rioting scum that brought shame upon the community of Salford, and neither do I have any for the view that the riots were part of some heroic 'working-class struggle'. However, evicting rioters, and possibly their completely innocent families, from their homes is taking things too far. Making people homeless will solve absolutely nothing. Let the courts deal with these people - it isn't the Clowncil's responsibility.
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