Monday, 13 September 2010


Mohammed Warsame knows all about forced eviction, 10 years ago he was fleeing for his life from warring factions in Somalia. He eventually ended up in the UK and in Northampton, and in September 2003 after serving his time on the waiting list he moved into a one bedroom council flat in Spring Boroughs with his wife and young child.

Mohammed is a proud man and has never claimed benefits, he quickly got himself a job on Brackmills and has always strived to pay his way. His family had at last found peace and security and soon after a second child was added to the family. Life was beginning to take on an air of normality after all the trauma in their homeland and their flight from fear.

But living with 4 people under one small roof in a small one bedroom flat was not easy and the Council were not in a position to offer him anything bigger. So Mohammed, as is his way sorted out the problem himself. His mother in law, lived in a larger flat in Chelsea, and those who understand Somalian culture will know that it is very normal for young mothers to reside with their own mother whilst the husband was working. in Somalia many of the men work hundreds of miles away from their family to earn money to support the family so Mrs Warsame and the two children moved in with Mum even though they wanted to be at home in Northampton with Mohammed.

Mohammed carried on working 5 days a week at Brackmills and then at the weekends he would visit his wife and children at the mother in laws in Chelsea. His mother in law was not working, and it soon become apparent that Mohhamed would need to support both households, so he worked harder, did extra shifts and tried to pay his way the best he could, but he fell behind with the rent, not hugely, but enough to worry him. At one point he was £800 in arrears with NBC, but by working a bit more overtime he reduced that down to £400. All this it seems was to be to no avail!

You seen those kind souls at Lib Dem controlled Northampton Borough Council, decided to serve him a repossession order and took the case to court to evict Mr Warsame on the grounds of unpaid rent. Now those who understand how the Council works will be amazed that they took such an austere measure over such a small sum, residents usually can run up arrears into the thousands before the council would even consider taking the case to court for eviction. So why was Mohammed being treated so badly?

Thankfully the Judge agreed, and noted that Mr Warsame had been reducing his arrears not allowing them to grow and refused the Council the right to repossess the property. But the court costs still added another £120 to Mr Warsame's arrears, hardly helpful to him giving his current position. but at least he could keep his flat? Or could he?

Before Mohammed had even left the court another kind soul from the Borough Councils Housing Department caught up with him and handed him another pre prepared eviction order! This time under the auspice of the flat in Spring Boroughs not being his main abode! So they once more told him he had to go and duly evicted him in May. He couldn't understand what he had done wrong? And didn't know who to turn to.

Ever since he has been sleeping on friends sofas in Northampton during the week to ensure he keeps his job and then commuting at weekends back down to Chelsea, where he recently received a bill for over £1100 from NBC who had added another months rent (notice of intention to quit) to his bill despite them evicting him.

Mohammed came to me to ask we what he had done wrong? And why the Council were victimising him? the only response I have got so far from my enqiuries to the Council is that they had discovered that Mr Warsame's name had appeared as being resident on a housing benefit claim in Chelsea, he was of course, and the claim probably in the name of his mother in law was simply being truthful as to who resided there albeit only at weekends.

But what business is it of Northampton Borough Council what his mother in law does in Chelsea? and how did they source this information with the Data Protection Act in place?

And why oh why did no one at NBC think to invite him in to talk about his housing needs? after all if the Council had done it's job properly Mrs Warsame and the 2 children would still be in Northampton with their husband/father living in a slightly bigger property. So much it seems for secured tenancies!

I have of course asked the council a number of questions on Mr Warsame's case including:

Why an eviction order was served and a court case fixed on such a low arrears amount when it was clear the tenant was reducing the arrears?

How come a housing officer was in the court with a second eviction notice for a different reason on the day of the hearing?

What are they doing involving themselves in the affairs of another local authority area?

Why was Mr Warsame not offered any help at any time since 2003 instead of being treated so badly and evicted by any means possible?

Mr Warsame now tells me he has had more arrears bills sent to him in London regarding his Council Tax far beyond the point that he was forcefully removed from his tenancy.

So once again take a bow Northampton Borough Council and their Liberal Democrat administration, you must all be very proud of yourselves.

Perhaps this one should go directly to Northamptonshire Race Equality Council for them to investigate?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. It's not rocket science14 September 2010 at 15:14

    Therefore .... someone should be able to write offensive emails to public servants without any regard for their actions (two wrongs dont make a right), park any sort of trailer they wish outside their house (even if other people do doesnt make it okay) and live in a house owned by the tax payer but not pay any rent.

    I am not a public servant but if someone emailed me calling me a b**** I would not accept it. Its abusive and not defensible.

    I would not expect to be able to keep what ever trailer I wanted on the public highway.

    I do own another property apart from the one I live in. My tenant signs an agreement - I provide the home, they pay the rent (its really quite simple.) If they can't afford the rent, then I dont provide the service.

    Struggling to see the problem.

  2. let me assist your struggle. no people shouldn't be able to write offensive emails, but equally they should't expect council officers to write to their doctor suggesting they have mental health problems. This issue should have been sorted out without the intervention of the courts, I and others should have been asked if we wanted to be part of any injunction and the Council shouldn't have looked to profiteer by charging out lawyers at a 400% mark up.

    No you shouldn't be able to keep a trailer outside your house if thebregulations do not permit it, but this was not the case here, The Council were determined to move it for their own purpose without once looking at the consequences of their actions or coordinating with the County Council to ensure fair treatment .

    And no people should be allowed to not pay their rent, but when they're payingvtheir arrears and do not owe anywhere near what others owe then that is not the time to take them to court, nor does it give them permission to breach the DPA and serve incorrect notices on people just because they feel like it.

    If you are really struggling to see what the problem is with any of these cases then you must be either.............

    A: Very Very stupid or

    B: A member of the Liberal Democrat administration on the Borough Council

    C: Both ofnthe above or

    D: Margeret Thatcher

    please advise.

  3. It's not rocket science15 September 2010 at 11:49

    Hello Tony,

    I'm definately not A, which means I am definately not B, therefore C is not relevant. D is a poor attempt to insult me because I hold a different view than yourself.

    My biggest challenge with your posts is that you don't expect the individuals concerned to show any discipline in their behaviour.

    Of course the silly Lib Dem Council (who would expect anything different from them) shouldn't have marked up the legal costs. But, if the man had not written offensive emails (like 99% of the population manage to avoid when contacting the council) the whole situation would not have happened.

    99% of people manage to pay their rent on time. Those who don't should be dealt with strongly. I accept that others are treated differently by the council but they guy entered an agreement with council. Why should the Council stick to their side of the agreement if someone else doesn't.

    Believing in people taking a bit of personal responsibility does not make me a Thatcherite.

  4. Why pursue this case with such vigour. I am not sure I can understand their stance. I agree with others that rent has to be paid and arrears cannot be ignored, but this man has always tried to do his best and NBC have invested a considerable effort to go after him whilst ignoring other more errant occupants. Is there another agenda here? I hope it would not be the obvious one. Surely not!

  5. Thanks Harry for helping to explain, although of course the rent arrears were never the issue. as I pointed out at the time he was taken to court he was paying his rent in full on a regular basis and in addition paying off his peevious arrears as well. in order words if he was your tenant and owed you £400 in back rent but was now paying you his £50 a week rent and then on top paying £50 a week oof of his arrears, would you take him to court or be grateful that he was now paying on time and clearing his debt?

    The other question therefore is not only why did they take his case to court for repossession when he was paying and when he owed far less than so many who have not been taken to court and more disturbingly why was a council officer in the court on the day waiting to issue a second reposseion order for a different reason at the point at which the Judge threw out the Councilnfirst attempt to evict?

  6. And to cap it all I have now discovered that after adding court costs and then charging him a months notice after they had evicted him, his bill of now over £1000 has now led the council to chase him in London with the help of the Baliffs who are also demanding another huge wad of cash to recover the Councils money!

    At this rate he will soon need to seek asylum elsewhere, anywhere far enough away from Northampton Borough Council!

  7. It's not rocket science17 September 2010 at 12:11

    You make me laugh Mr Clarke - comments like "...would you take him to court or be grateful that he was now paying on time..." show a public sector attitude and why so many public owned services are in such a mess.

    I would not be grateful that someone is paying me for a service I provide. It is not a favour. It is a service. That £400 of arrears is owed to the tax payer of Northampton. Sainsburys dont let me pay for my weekly shop in installments. Just because the share holders in this case are Northampton plc should not make a difference.

    Furthermore to your second point, are you then saying that the public purse should pick up the court costs?

    If you are, surely your point is now that someone can live in public owned property, break their tenancy, pay rent when they can and if the owner (in this case the people of Northampton)take legal action to get their money, the tax payer should pay for that and (this is the best bit) if that person then spends time in London, we should just forget it as London is too far away.

    I'm baffled.

  8. baffled and confused! I repeat he was paying his weekly rent on time and paying off his arrearsatbthe same time! no companybwould go to court if it was seeing it's money being returned by the debtor, and what about the rest of the story? As to his eviction on false pretences?or charging him rent for periods after he was evicted? have you bothered to read any of the story? Or are you taking a similar colonial view to the council?

  9. Dont pay your rent, dont stay in your house. Easy equation. i dont drive up to the petrol station fill up then drive off saying i;ll pay when ive got the money.




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