A pensioner could be kicked out of his council home for comparing housing officers to “Nazis”.

John Melson has fought for the rights of more than 13,000 council tenants in Brighton and Hove for the last decade.

However, the 74-year-old has been issued with an eviction notice after claiming some tenants had likened housing officers to “Nazis”.

The local authority claimed the language was “very alarming, inappropriate and offensive”, adding it was a breach of tenancy to abuse its staff.

But Mr Melson, who says he is of Jewish ancestry, claimed he was only raising the views of fellow tenants that their input was being ignored.

Mr Melson, of Wiltshire House, Brighton, said: “Democracy is the key issue. If we’re to comply with Government guidance that council housing policies are to be resident-led then consultation is key.

“The amount of consultation which goes on at the moment is negligible to nil.”

According to the local authority the comments were made in a phone call on November 20 and a meeting of the High Rise Action Group on December 4.


The council letter claimed that Mr Melson said some tenants were “thinking of ‘hanging out their swastikas’” to housing officers.

Documents seen by The Argus show a notice was served on December 17.

The latest order, which was sent out yesterday, said: “The comments you made on the phone and then substantially repeated at [a public meeting] comparing officer’s behaviour to that of Nazis and Fascists were abusive and offensive.

“It is a breach of tenancy to do anything which causes or is likely to cause a nuisance or annoy someone else.

“It is also a breach of tenancy to abuse our employees.”

Mr Melson said he would be seeking legal advice about the notice.

Jugal Sharma, the council’s head of housing, said: “We do not tolerate racist, homophobic or anti-semitic comments directed at staff or anyone else.

“The tenant had been warned on a number of occasions that being abusive to staff is a breach of his tenancy.

“He chose to repeat his comments and as a result he has been served with a notice to say he is in breach of his tenancy.

“At this stage he is not being evicted, but the notice means that if he repeats his comments we can take court action to do so.

“If he does not repeat them, no action will be taken.”