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Euston HS2 Housing Disruption – Know Your Rights

High Speed 2 (“HS2”), the high speed railway link between London and the West Midlands, received royal assent on 23 February 2017. The railway will accommodate trains with 1,100 seats and operate at speeds of 250mph. With plans drawn up and in full swing, construction is ambitiously intended to be completed by 2026.

The works required will be large scale and we can expect major housing disruption with £70 million having been set aside by the government for community schemes along the London to Birmingham route. The object is to boost London’s economy to newfound heights however such a major operation will inevitably come at considerable short term costs.

Hodge Jones & Allen’s locality will be directly affected and we are regretfully counting the days until the Bree Louise (one of our local) pubs and half of the Drummond Street Indian Restaurants will be requisitioned. Camden Council has expressed its concerns about the business that will be lost in the area, for instance two major buildings will disappear, the Grant Thornton House and One Euston Square Building. As well as the effect on business life, local residents who have made their home in our neck of the woods will be displaced.

Private residents of two new builds at Stanhope and Winchester Apartments have reportedly been issued Notices to Quit by the Secretary of State for Transport requiring the Assured Shorthold Tenants to leave in two months. These state owned apartments were part of a Camden Council ‘Build to Let’ arrangement. It is reported that upon signing, it was made clear to the tenants that the accommodation would soon be required by the Council once more. Possession is now being recovered by the state so that social housing and leaseholder tenants from the Regents Park Estate, consisting of Eskdale, Ainsdale, and Silverdale blocks will be moved in. The 180 units the blocks consisted of will also require the state purchase of further properties in the area.

Those being transferred should seek legal advice if any complications arise, for instance, if the accommodation they have been provided is unsuitable. Tenants of the Stanhope and Winchester apartment blocks will need to find a new homes. These tenants should also seek legal advice as soon as possible if any complications arise, for instance, if they are unable to vacate their accommodation by the end of the notice period. We have set out below details of the possession procedure.

Sadhari Perera provides a good analysis on the possession proceedings based on a s.21 for new tenancies entered into on or after 1st October 2015.

Eviction Procedure in stages

  1. Notice – In Order to start a Claim for Possession your landlord has to give you a Notice which sets out the grounds for possession. Once it expires the Landlord can bring Court Proceedings.
  2. Claim Form for Possession – This will be sent to you either by the Court or the Landlord
  3. Notice of Hearing – you should be given a hearing date, this is sometimes on the Claim Form for Possession. You will only get a hearing if you put in a defence in s.21 accelerated procedure cases
  4. Hearing – a County Court Judge will decide whether or not the claim for possession has been made out after hearing from both parties. Sometimes decisions are made on the papers for example in an accelerated claim for possession.
  5. Order – the proceedings could result in the Court making one of the following Orders:

    a. Adjourning the proceedings generally, or adjourning the case for a fixed period, possibly on terms that you continue to make payments towards the rent arrears.
    b. The Court has power to make a Suspended Possession Order, which means that you have to pay the current rent and an amount towards the arrears. You can stay in the property so long as you keep to the terms of the Order. This would be unlikely if the council need the property vacant.
    c. The Court has power to make a full possession Order, which means that your landlord would be able to ask the Court bailiffs to evict you after a set possession date has passed.

  6.  Notice of Eviction – If you have not left by the date of the Order you will receive a Notice of Eviction giving a date and time for Court Bailiffs to attend the property and evict you.

With large projects like HS2 the already alarming levels of housing insecurity in London are becoming even worse. It is vital that in the modern environment, where people’s homes are increasingly commodified and no longer treated as homes in themselves, housing rights must be fiercely protected wherever possible. For those on a low income, you may be eligible for legal aid allowing the state to fund the legal advice, assistance and representation you require. Legal aid remains available for eligible individuals where their home is at risk.