‘It’s not all about money’ - Stef & Philips breaks long silence over St Michael’s Gate evictions

Residents moving out of St Michael's Gate. EMN-161113-172549009
Residents moving out of St Michael's Gate. EMN-161113-172549009
0
Have your say

The housing firm which is evicting tenants from 74 properties in Peterborough to allow homeless people to move in has denied that its motives are solely based on profit.

Stef & Philips has broken its long silence to say it regretted any distress caused by the evictions at St Michael’s Gate in Parnwell which has caused huge controversy.

In a statement, the firm said: “The suggestion that ‘this is all about money’ could not be further from the truth.”

It added: “If our business was simply ‘all about money’, we would merely pick the most lucrative contracts. Instead, we also work with local authorities away from London in widespread geographic locations.

“Although local authorities have very pressing needs, S&P’s established ethos is to never work in an opportunistic manner.”

Peterborough City Council signed a three year deal worth nearly £3 million to move homeless people into St Michael’s Gate, with the number of properties renovated to increase to 98.

The council, which has a shortage of temporary accommodation, said if it did not take up the properties, a London borough would move its homeless people in instead.

Stef & Philips wrote: “We can confirm that long before our first contact with Peterborough City Council, we had already committed to the acquisition of St Michael’s Gate. Hence, the opinion of a ‘pre-purchase relationship with Peterborough City Council’ has no basis.

2. St Michael’s Gate was purchased by Paul Simon Magic Homes Investments Limited (PSMHIL). A director of Stef & Philips Limited has a minority interest in PSMHIL.

3. It was purchased at a time when the existing tenancy agreements were either drawing to a close or had already expired.

4. It was purchased with the knowledge that the majority of these properties will require extensive refurbishments.

5. Because of Health & Safety stipulations the properties cannot be occupied whilst the refurbishments are carried out.

6. Almost all of the tenants currently on site occupy their respective premises under a 6-month or 12-month Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement.

7. Each tenant is fully aware of their rights and obligations under the agreement and in particular their obligation to give up possession of the property on the correct amount of notice.

8. Key facts about this development;

a. A total of 74 properties with;

 68 AST agreements

 2 Assured tenancies

 4 vacant properties

b. 50+ properties need complete refurbishment and upgrade to make them fully compliant.

c. We see no evidence of significant repair and maintenance in the past

d. Deposits paid by the tenants to the previous managing agents were placed in a Deposit Protection Scheme, and will be refunded.

Assurance;

1. No deductions will be made from the deposits unless we have evidence of malicious and wilful damage.

2. We are lawfully seeking possession, strictly in accordance with the terms of each agreement.

3. Each case is considered personally by a company director on its own merits.

4. 10+ tenants have already been allowed time beyond the end of their notice period.

5. S&P is funding all the refurbishment, repair and compliance related work.

6. All work will be completed at no additional expense to Peterborough City Council or the public purse.

“We are working closely with Peterborough City Council to ensure the properties become a valued part of the council’s temporary accommodation portfolio, providing an excellent opportunity for them to reduce the use of unsuitable accommodation elsewhere and to provide cost-effective temporary accommodation of a good standard from a specialist provider.”

Stef & Philips described itself as specialising in “providing accommodation for social housing to local authorities.”

Tenants at St Michael’s Gate have previously said Stef & Philips issued them a notice of possession for their property before their tenancies were up.

The tenants say after challenging the notice, they were then told they could stay at their homes until their tenancies actually expired.

The first homeless families moved into St Michael’s Gate two weeks ago, with at least 11 famileis said to be there now.

The Peterborough Telegraph, which broke the original story, has repeatedly asked for an interview with Stef & Philips but not heard back.

Paul Simon Magic Homes has refused requests for an interview.

RELATED

REVEALED: FOI on controversial St Michael’s Gate deal shows correspondence between Peterborough City Council and Stef & Philips

‘We don’t want to let our daughter down’ says Peterborough mother facing eviction from St Michael’s Gate

Peterborough dad’s anguish as family prepares to for eviction so home can be used as temporary accommodation

‘I don’t know where my kids will be in two months.’- Peterborough family face eviction from St Michael’s Gate three weeks before Christmas

Petition launched to stop “ridiculous” eviction of 74 families in Peterborough to use their homes to house the homeless

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson urges city council to not sign deal with property firm after families evicted from homes

Upset Peterborough dad is worried for his children after being told they face eviction from St Michael’s Gate

Challenge date announced over Peterborough City Council’s decision to use homes of evicted families for temporary accommodation

Tenants facing eviction from St Michael’s Gate declare themselves homeless with Peterborough City Council

UPDATED: Tenants facing eviction from St Michael’s Gate criticise lack of support from Peterborough City Council at meeting

VIDEO: Peterborough City Council ‘considered buying St Michael’s Gate properties’ before they were sold to firm evicting tenants

VIDEO: ‘I hope you sleep well at night!” - Bitter exchanges as deal to move homeless people into St Michael’s Gate in Peterborough gets final go ahead

Peterborough MP raises St Michael’s Gate evictions in Parliament as ePetition begins to secure special debate

‘Unacceptable!’ MP pledges to come after firm evicting tenants from Peterborough’s St Michael’s Gate

‘We are going to fight this’ - Petition goes in for Peterborough City Council debate on St Michael’s Gate evictions

VIDEO: Peterborough MP hands in St Michael’s Gate petition to Parliament

VIDEO: ‘Get off your hiney and do something about it!’ Anger and tears as St Michael’s Gate residents plan next move