Sparing previous evictions, Hove residents were forced to leave the house after an inspection

MORE than 30 residents recently rescued from eviction have been told to vacate their homes immediately following a fire inspection.

A total of 37 people, including healthcare professionals, teachers, a pregnant woman and community workers, were ordered to leave Knoll House in Hove last night.

The property is due to be demolished next year, but Brighton and Hove City Council had hired Oaksure Property Services to provide “security” in the form of 37 “property guardians” on site.

In July, the council gave Oaksure 28 days’ notice. Local residents said they were not served with an eviction notice.

Earlier this month, an email from the council’s chief executive, Geoff Raw, seen by The Argus, to councilors said: “While work is ongoing to address the risk of fire, the team of officers was able to complete the threatened termination of the contractual agreement with Oaksure Property cancel services.”

The Argus: Conservative councilors joined Knoll House residents in a protest outside Hove Town HallConservative councilors joined Knoll House residents in a protest outside Hove Town Hall

However, yesterday, August 19, the council issued an update regarding the property, saying the fire issues have not been resolved and residents have therefore been asked to leave by 6pm.

The joint statement with East Sussex Fire and Rescue, released online, said: “It was hoped that Oaksure would take the urgently needed action to meet their responsibilities and obligations to guardians in relation to vital issues such as fire safety and safe evacuation of the building to fulfill.

“Wardens have also been advised on how to appropriately and safely self-manage their occupation of the building.

“However, following an inspection by the council this week, the council was very disappointed that the measures needed to make it a safe place to stay have still not been implemented.

“The city government cannot tolerate fire hazards that could result in death or serious injury.

“As a result, on Friday, August 19, the Council terminated the contract with Oaksure and announced the vacancy of the building.

“Given what we have learned from Grenfell, we cannot afford to risk people’s lives and, unfortunately, sometimes difficult decisions are required to do just that.”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said the Wardens are Oaksure licensees, are not tenants and pay no rent to the council.

It is understood that the council housing staff are on hand to provide caregivers with advice and assistance, including the provision of temporary accommodation over the weekend should this be required.

The Argus: Council members Garry Peltzer Dunn and Robert Nemeth (far left) with residents of Knoll House in HoveCouncilors Garry Peltzer Dunn and Robert Nemeth (far left) with residents of Knoll House in Hove

The online statement adds: “The Council continues to fully understand the concerns of guardians regarding their future placements and will assist where possible.

“The council will keep all belongings safe and secure in the building and former guardians will be given access to collect them.”

Councilors Robert Nemeth and Garry Peltzer Dunn had previously urged the council to step in and give residents a grace period from the earlier eviction.

Following yesterday’s announcement that residents were being forced to evacuate, Cllr Nemeth told The Argus: “It’s quite incredible that just a few weeks after we intervened to stop the eviction, we’re back to square one stand and the residents are on the verge of homelessness.

“They are unsurprisingly devastated and have been treated terribly.

“Guardianship arrangements can create a real win-win situation for all parties.

“It’s unbelievable how this scheme has been managed so poorly.”

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20679242.hove-residents-spared-previous-eviction-forced-leave-following-inspection/?ref=rss Sparing previous evictions, Hove residents were forced to leave the house after an inspection

Fry Electronics Team

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