MSP launches £10,000 crowdfunder for Leith tenant of 27 years facing eviction

Colin Brown was served a Notice to Quit in May.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:55 am
Colin Brown. Picture: Greg MacVean.
Colin Brown. Picture: Greg MacVean.

MSP Andy Wightman has launched a £10,000 fundraiser to fight the proposed eviction of one of his constituents.

Colin Brown, 67, received a Notice to Quit his flat on Junction Street in Leith in May 25.

He was instructed to leave the property, which he has lived in for 27 years, as the landlord Express Investments wants to sell.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Brown’s flat is one of 29 residential properties owned by the company as of March 2018, all of which it plans to get rid of.

Mr Brown told the Evening News in September that he was ‘absolutely devastated’ to receive notice of the eviction.

He said: “I’ve lived in Leith and been actively involved in the community for over 40 years, and have lived in this home for nearly three decades.

“I am now facing the prospect of being made homeless.”

Mr Brown will challenge his eviction in the First Tier Tribunal at a hearing on 17 January.

The Crowdfunder launched by Mr Wightman aims to challenge the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 on the grounds that the act violates Mr Brown’s human right to a home, under the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 8 Right to Respect for Private and Family Life and Article 1 of Protocol 1 Protection of Property).

It has so far raised almost £2,500. Mr Wightman intends to use the money raised to get advice from an Advocate on the chances of the challenge succeeding.

The money will also be used to review the options for progressing the case once this advice is given.

If the litigation looks like it may succeed, Mr Wightman will launch a separate crowdfunder to prepare for this.

Mr Wightman states on his Crowdfunding page: “We believe that it may not be proportionate under Article 8 to evict a tenant who is 67 years old and has lived in his home for over 27 years.

“We believe that it may violate Colin's rights under Article 1 of Protocol 1 as it may be disproportionate to remove his property rights (the 27 year tenancy) in favour of a corporate landlord”

Mr Wightman claims that the case has wider significance to the rest of the population who live in the private rented sector.

He said: “We believe that there are elements of private tenancy law that do not adequately uphold the human right to a home, to a private and family life and to possessions because it is too easy in too many cases to evict a tenant at short notice.”