Feature on Beteil Mahari’s plight fighting eviction amongst gentrification in Brixton, London.
First published in The Canary on 3 March 2017:
Betiel Mahari, known as Beti, lived on the Loughborough Estate in Brixton, South London with her two boys. She spoke to The Canary about her experiences.
Mahari had her own business, managing the Art Nouveau restaurant in Brixton. But in 2015, Guinness Trust, now called the Guinness Partnership, demolished the estate after a decade-long redevelopment plan. It demolished the block of 390 social rented flats because it said they did not meet the government’s Decent Homes Standard. Instead of refurbishing them, Guinness decided to build 487 new housing units.
When Guinness took on the redevelopment, it did not offer any new secure tenancy agreements, despite its social housing status. Instead, it gave any new tenants assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs). This meant it was under no obligation to rehouse them.
But following tenant protests, Guinness rehoused 11 out of 100 of those on ASTs to Southwark. It also rehoused Mahari, who had been on an AST for 10 years. And it moved the rest to outer London boroughs, a lot further away.