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Activists target Manchester estate agency over disputed tenancy

Company says it is preparing a full legal response to claims by activists that it has served a Section 21 notice on three tenants incorrectly.

Nigel Lewis

estate agent thornley groves

An estate agency at the centre of a disputed tenancy in Manchester says it is preparing a legal response to claims by housing campaigners that it has incorrectly served a Section 21 notice on three tenants.

Thornley Groves has been targeted in recent days by campaigners from Acorn and demonstrations have been held outside four of its branches.

Acorn claims that three tenants at a property in the city were served a ‘no fault’ notice at the request of the landlord after it was discovered that the trio had been furloughed by their employers, although they have since returned to full-status employment.

“It seems abundantly clear that not only are Thornley Groves…oblivious to the effects of their actions on the homelessness crisis, but that they are wilfully contributing to it” says one of the tenants, Toby Bower.

Campaigners have taken up the cause of the tenants, who are also members of the organisation, and have launched a social media campaign targeting the agency and its CEO Jason Watkin.

Row

The row between the agency and its three tenants highlights the problems facing many landlords and lettings agents as the economic fall-out from the Covid pandemic continues.

This includes whether tenants who are furloughed are deemed a ‘high risk’ and whether applicants should disclose furlough status when being referenced.

Thornley Groves says it will be preparing a full legal response to the criticisms levelled at it by Acorn in the coming days.

The estate agency, which is due to celebrate its 30th anniversary, has seven branches in the centre and suburbs of Manchester and employs 80 staff.

Read more about Thornley Groves.

October 27, 2020

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