Letting Agents Change Lock on Brighton Couple's Door While They Are Out

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon their honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 12 of the Human Rights Act

A Brighton couple were shocked yesterday to hear that the locks of their home had been changed while they were out and now find themselves homeless.

The couple, George Horvath, 48, and Dianne Brennan, 47, of Arundel Court, Brighton were evicted suddenly and without due warning for breach of their licence agreement with Brighton and Hove City Council following a short series of disputes over noise with a neighbour.

According to the couple, this action against them has taken place without formal written notice or fair warning of eviction and after reassurances from KEM maintenance agents that no such action would take place.

Mr Horvath spoke yesterday of his shock at hearing the news.

"We were in a local public house when we heard the news that the locks had been changed on our doors and that the maintenance agents would allow us into the property to collect some things, but that this was no longer our home. I understand that we have had a dispute with our neighbour who lives in the flat below us, but this is totally unfair."

What makes the news of this action, taken by managing agents, Graves Son and Pilcher all the more shocking is that Diane Brennan is a mental health services client of the Council who suffers bi-polar disorder. When Mr Horvath tried to obtain information concerning the nature of complaints made against him to the managing agents, he maintains that he was stonewalled.

"Graves Son and Pilcher wouldn't tell me anything about the nature of the complaints against us or who was making the complaints. When I asked for written evidence or any correspondence that there was any evidence against us, I was told that the worker for the firm could not help me and then had the telephone put down on me."

The Brighton couple are now concerned about where Brighton and Hove City Council will place them next.  Diane Brennan, a mental health and Substance Misuse Service (SMS) client of the Council, expressed fears that the couple would be placed in Percival Terrace or another emergency homeless hostel in Brighton.

"I only associate Percival Terrace with drugs and addiction.  Since I have been at Arundel Court, I have been in rehab at Mill View and have given up both drink and drugs. I don't want to go back to that place in Percival Terrace. There are too many drug takers there and I will be tempted to go back to my former lifestyle. How can the Substance Misuse Service (SMS) allow this to happen to one of their clients?"
"Moreover, how can Brighton and Hove City Council allow this to happen to one of their mental health clients as well? I feel on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Can you imagine being out of the house and suddenly hearing that you are homeless, unable to pick up more than a few of your belongings and that you are out on the street?"

Homeless in Brighton with Nowhere to Store their Possessions

Ms Brennan, upset at the couple's treatment, spoke yesterday of her fears for the future.

"We have nowhere to store our belongings. We are going to lose everything.  If we are not found somewhere to live other than an emergency room, then all of our belongings will be taken away and destroyed. Where can we store our things? The way we are being treated is disgusting. Our human rights have been violated and trampled upon. Even if you are going to evict someone from a property because they have had a dispute over noise with a neighbour, you surely can't just lock them out of the house and throw them on the street without even a court order? We don't deserve this treatment. Nobody deserves this kind of treatment." 

The couple had been placed at the property in temporary accommodation at Arundel Court, Brighton by the local authority, having been moved from their long-term emergency accommodation at Percival Terrace, Kemptown.

The distressed couple stayed at a friend's house last night, but for the time being are without a fixed address as Brighton and Hove City Council determine to find the couple emergency accommodation. At the time of writing, Graves Son and Pilcher were unavailable for comment.

Mr Horvath, fed up with the situation commented, "I hear there are a few people in tents protesting and asking for 'Real Democracy Now'. After this experience, I am tempted to join them. Where are our human rights?"

If you wish to make your views of this matter known to those with responsibility for this couple's very sudden homelessness and eviction...

You can contact Graves Son and Pilcher Estate and Lettings Agents here.

You can contact Brighton and Hove City Council here.

UPDATE: At 3pm George was due to be let into the flat. At 3.30pm he was called by KEM maintenance firm and told that they could not come and see him to allow him into the flat. Diane has yet to pick up her medication from the property because they are not allowed back into their home.


  1. According to the couple, this action against them has taken place without formal written notice or fair warning of eviction and after reassurances from KEM maintenance agents that no such action would take place.D&A 24/7 Locksmiths


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