MORE than 30 people are set to be evicted next week after a deal between the council and a property company collapsed.

A total of 37 people, including health professionals, teachers, a pregnant woman and council workers are set to be made homeless from Knoll House in Ingram Crescent, Hove, next Tuesday after the council gave Oaksure Property Services 28 days’ notice to quit.

However, the residents say they have not been served with eviction notices.

Knoll House operated as a rehabilitation centre until mid-2019 and is set for demolition next August, so that supported accommodation can be built on the site.

It is understood that, since late 2020, the council contracted Oaksure to provide security in the form of 37 “property guardians” in 32 rooms on site, which pay roughly a combined £16,000 monthly.

However, a safety inspection prompted the council to believe that improvements are required to reach appropriate standards and decided to give Oaksure four weeks’ notice to quit.

Councillors Robert Nemeth and Garry Peltzer Dunn have called on the council to intervene urgently to grant a reprieve for residents from eviction, break down the costs associated with eviction, and pledge to consider options to temporarily manage the guardian arrangement in-house or with an alternative guardian provider.

Cllr Nemeth said: “Cllr Peltzer Dunn and I are wholeheartedly backing our residents against the threat of eviction, which would be both hugely costly and immoral.

“This modern building should be kept in use and the rents collected until the last possible moment.

“There is no reason whatsoever to make these people homeless now so that a building can be left empty.”

The Argus: Conservative councillors joined Knoll House residents in a protest outside Hove Town HallConservative councillors joined Knoll House residents in a protest outside Hove Town Hall

Cllr Nemeth and Cllr Peltzer Dunn joined other Conservative councillors and tenants in a protest outside Hove Town Hall ahead of a council meeting to demand action to save them from eviction.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said that the guardians are licensees of Oaksure, are not residential tenants and do not pay rent to the council.

He said: “Our contract with Oaksure allows either party to terminate the arrangement with 28 days’ notice.

“A recent inspection by our environmental health team found that conditions at Knoll House, particularly in terms of fire safety, required improvement.

“We are discussing fire safety measures with Oaksure and we are seeking reassurance that all guardians placed in the building by this contract holder are safe and aware of their responsibilities.

“We appreciate that the live-in guardians are in a difficult situation.

“Our housing team has visited the scheme to offer advice on housing options and assess people’s needs.

“Our team has identified several occupants who may be vulnerable. These people will be provided with temporary accommodation in the normal way if they are unable to secure alternative accommodation before they leave.

“We have also made it clear that we can offer assistance with deposits or rent-in-advance should this be a barrier to people being able to find their own alternative accommodation.”

Oaksure Property Services have been contacted for comment.