Hove residents fear homelessness after being told to leave council-owned block

  • ITV Meridian's Tom Savvides has been to speak to those at risk of losing their homes

Almost 40 people in a council-owned block of properties have been told to leave their homes, with some fearing they may end up homeless.

Residents living in Knoll House in Hove have been issued with notices to quit after Brighton and Hove Council ended its contract with a management company.

The residents have been acting as guardians which is a process that allows people to rent council property, often old offices, at reduced rates to prevent buildings from being vandalised or taken over by squatters.

Now, they have been told they must go prompting fears from some they will end up without a home.

Stephanie Sams, Guardian of Knoll House, said: "I can speak from a lot of other people here. We have no other option or money is very tight. We live pay-check to pay-check and having less than 20 days notice is frightening."

A council spokesperson said: “The guardians living at the buildings are licencees of a company called Oaksure Property Protection.

“They are not residential tenants and they do not pay rent to the council.

“This is how live-in guardianship schemes work.

“Our contract with Oaksure allows either party to terminate the arrangement with 28 days’ notice.

“A recent inspection by our environmental health team found that conditions at Knoll House, particularly in terms of fire safety, required improvement.  

“We are discussing fire safety measures with Oaksure and we are seeking reassurance that all guardians placed in the building by this contract holder are safe and aware of their responsibilities.

“We appreciate that the live-in guardians are in a difficult situation.

“Our housing team has visited the scheme to offer advice on housing options and assess people’s needs. 

“Our team has identified several occupants who may be vulnerable. These people will be provided with temporary accommodation in the normal way if they are unable to secure alternative accommodation before they leave. 

“We have also made it clear that we can offer assistance with deposits or rent-in-advance should this be a barrier to people being able to find their own alternative accommodation.”

Almost 40 people at Knoll House have been acting as guardians.

Oaksure were not available for comment.