David Pay, the owner of Youngs estate agent in the Kemptown area of Brighton, assaulted a member of Brighton Solidarity Federation during a picket in support of a tenant facing a eviction because he asked his landlord to do repairs.
On Saturday 19th May we undertook a picket of Youngs estate agency in Kemptown, as part of our ongoing campaign in support of a tenant, Patrick, who is being evicted by one of their landlords because he asked for necessary repairs to his flat to be undertaken, and because he demanded payment, as agreed, for repair work he had already done.
Before the picket began, we entered the shop to inform the owner, David Pay, that the picket would be taking place, and to give him the opportunity to open negotiations toward a settlement of the dispute. Had he done so, we would have postponed the picket, as we explained to him. Instead of entering into dialogue, however, Mr Pay proceeded to physically assault one of our members, as can be seen in the video below. Mr Pay went on to attempt a second assault not long after this one.
From the outset of our campaign, we have been clear with Youngs and with Mr Pay that we would like to resolve this situation amicably. At the beginning of the campaign, we delivered a letter to Youngs, outlining the grievance of the tenant in question, describing the ways in which the situation could be remedied, inviting Youngs to open a dialogue with the tenant and ourselves toward such a resolution, and giving them two weeks to do so.
They chose not to, meaning that we commenced our campaign, informing the public about Youngs' mistreatment of this tenant. Since then, we have offered Youngs the opportunity to open negotiations after each public action we have taken. We have also provided extensive evidence in the form of emails, photos, and relevant legislation for our claims. Nonetheless, Youngs have refused to productively engage with the issue.
Recently, we also extended our campaign to Halls Estate Agents, whose owners are the landlords of Youngs' office in Kemptown. We are demanding that Halls either evict Youngs from their office because of their negligence, or pressure them to find a resolution to this situation. So far, Halls have declined to do either. We presented the video evidence of the assault to Youngs, Halls, and the landlord of the property in question earlier this week, and again invited them to open negotiations toward an amicable settlement to this dispute, explaining that we were concerned by this recent development and that the matter needs resolving as a matter of urgency. Nonetheless, all three have declined to enter into negotiations.
That David Pay is willing to assault someone supporting a tenant exercising his basic right to safe accommodation tells you everything you need to know about his and Youngs' attitude toward tenants. That Halls and the landlord are willing to support him does, too. However, ourselves and Patrick will not be bullied out of taking action to ensure that Patrick has safe and secure accommodation and that he is compensated for the work he has done. Solidarity amongst those in insecure housing is stronger than the petty despotism of an estate agent on the back foot.
If you're concerned by this incident, you can contact Youngs on 01273 626258, or by email at [email protected]. If you want to stay in touch with the campaign and support future actions, send an email to [email protected] to request to join our mailing list.
Originally posted on the Brighton Solfed Facebook page.