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Agencies & People

Rental property dispute sparks street demonstrations

Disagreement over compensation for tenant between Brighton agency Brand Vaughan and rental union Acorn are ongoing.

Nigel Lewis

A South East estate agent has become involved in a war of words with a leading housing and poverty action group over repairs to a property, and is due to have one of its branches picketed tomorrow by protesters.

Brand Vaughan, which has three branches in the seaside city of Brighton and was recently bought by Lomond Capital, rented a property to Ana Sandou who was also a member of the Acorn renters’ union.

On arrival at the property she discovered it needed substantial repairs and was missing several essentials including a fridge and a washing machine.

Sandou claims it took Brand Vaughan a long time to bring the property up to scratch and a month after she moved in, Acorn got involved. Compensation of £250 for Sandou was then negotiated between the two sides.

But it is claimed that Brand Vaughan has attached strings to the deal. This requires that Acorn destroy all campaign materials including posters and banners, remove references to the dispute from its social media and website, and desist from both picketing any of its offices or discouraging “potential tenants from using [Brand Vaughan’s] services”.

Goodwill payment

Writing to Sandou, Brand Vaughan says: “Both yourself and Acorn acknowledge and agree that in signing this agreement and accepting the goodwill payment, this will serve as full and final settlement of the matter”.

But this offer has now been rejected by Sandou and Acorn, who have said they will demonstrate once more near the agency’s main Brighton branch, asking supporters to bring “noisy” instruments and drums to the event, which is due to take place at lunchtime tomorrow.

Acorn is a national membership-based rental union with offices in Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield which describes itself as a ‘fighting organisation’.

The Negotiator approached Brand Vaughan’s Brighton branch for comment but so far has not received a response.

August 13, 2018

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