Serco Lock-Change Evictions: Know Your Rights

know your rights1

The Stop Lock-Change Evictions Campaign launches Know Your Rights flyers

Picture this: you’re completely destitute. You’re not allowed to work. You have no money. You can barely eat, are cut off thousands of miles from your friends and community. You’re exhausted, stressed, feeling trapped. And you’ve just received a letter saying that you will be evicted from your home after 7 days.

Download 'Know Your Rights' (pdf)

Serco, the Home office’s multinational asylum accommodation contractor, won’t tell you when you will be locked out but you know they will try any minute, which just adds to the torment. Your locks will be changed and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re scared to go to an appointment incase your locks are changed while you’re out. There’s nowhere else for you to go. You’ll be street homeless, left with nothing, in a country you hoped would protect you.

The Stop Lock-Change Evictions Campaign believe that this is unacceptable. As a coalition of charities, legal firms and grassroots organisations across Glasgow, we call on Serco to immediately stop lock-change evictions of vulnerable people in our city. Aside from being immoral and unjust, these evictions may also be unlawful. As it stands, Scots housing law protects most people from being evicted without a court order. We believe that this should apply to everyone in Scotland regardless of immigration status.

It is the Home Office, not Serco, who have designed destitution into the UK asylum process. It is the Home Office that have, via contract, permitted Serco to execute eviction with no need for a judge to say it is ok. This is a scandalous “rule of law” gap. Our campaign seeks to fill this gap and ensure the Home Office and Serco cannot just render someone street homeless without being able to challenge it in court.

There are currently two legal cases in Scotland’s highest civil court against Serco and the Home Office, the outcome of which will establish whether lock-change evictions, with no court oversight, of refused asylum seekers are lawful.

Sixty people have now had their lock-change eviction temporarily blocked by Glasgow Sheriff Court. That is sixty people who would, tonight, be street homeless if Scots courts and lawyers hadn’t stepped in. Despite losing so many in the Sheriff Court, Serco continue to oppose each action to temporarily halt lock changes evictions.

The Home Office and Serco have been relentless in issuing lock-change letters and carrying out evictions, despite live legal cases, so it has been essential for us to step in to ensure that people are aware of their legal rights and how to quickly access them.

If you, or someone you know, is at risk of lock-change eviction by Serco, call the Scottish Refugee Council helpline as soon as you can: 0141 223 7979. 

Signed,

Scottish Refugee Council;

Shelter Scotland;

Govan Community Project;

Latta & Co. Solicitors;

Just Right Scotland;

ASH Project