Evicted single mum loses court battle with Waltham Forest Council

A single mother evicted by Waltham Forest Council after refusing to move her family to Derby has lost a court battle to get her home back over Christmas.

Izebela Kikosicka, 36, and her three young children were evicted with 30 minutes notice on 16th November from a temporary accommodation in Bexley, where they had lived since 2018.

After sleeping in a car for a night, the family found themselves in short-term hostels before a friend offered them a single room to share.

During a hearing at Bromley County Court yesterday, Waltham Forest’s legal team failed to show any evidence they gave her notice before making her homeless.

Barrister Paul Powlesland, representing Ms Kikosicka, asked the judge to order that her keys be returned while a full case is prepared.

He said: “A vulnerable woman has been evicted illegally and [Waltham Forest] should do whatever is in their power to rehouse her.”

Michael Mullins, for Waltham Forest, argued Izebela had “sued the wrong person” because the council was not her landlord and had only “booked” the Bexley property for her through a business called Wren Housing.

He said: “In anyone’s case our responsibility to arrange accommodation had come to an end. The court would effectively be readmitting somebody who is owed no further duty.

“It’s effectively letting a trespasser back in, because the law in my submission is relatively clear on discretionary homelessness powers and whether one needs a court order or not.”

District Judge Paul Brooks said Waltham Forest had made a “glaring omission” by failing to prove they had given Izebela notice of eviction.

He nonetheless accepted the council’s arguments that Waltham Forest no longer has a duty to house Izebela and that the Bexley estate agent Elliot Lee should be included in the legal claim because they evicted her.

Judge Brooks added that financial damages “may be more appropriate” as a resolution if the court does find she was unlawfully evicted.

Speaking after the hearing, Izebela said: “I’m actually really disappointed. Waltham Forest are trying to blame it on the estate agent.

“Obviously they are worried they have done something wrong, but I didn’t expect this. I at least hoped I could go back for a few weeks considering it’s Christmas, they had nothing prepared, no evidence.

“It almost makes me wonder whether it was done on purpose. Clearly that email [giving notice] wasn’t sent, they couldn’t provide it.”

A full court hearing at a date yet to be set will decide whether the home Ms Kikosicka had in Bexley was a “dwelling”, which will affect whether Waltham Forest or the estate agent evicted her lawfully.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter