Get involved!

Come and get in on the action with Bristol Solnet. There’s lots to do and the more of us there is, the more we can do. There’s various ways you can help out and get involved.

We meet the second and fourth Thursday of each month, 7.30pm @ Kebele Social Centre, 14 Robertson Road, Easton. BS56JY. Here’s our meetings for the next few months:

October 13th and 27th

November 10th and 24th

December 8th and 22nd

Resolve, resilience and repairs! Win report!

“The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory”

banner1Well, this win has been a long time coming and a lot of solid work has made it a victory we can be very proud of. We are well pleased to announce that all the repairs demanded have been finished for an Easton based family who contacted us in November 2014 after seeing one of our posters. Not only have they won their fight for a decent, liveable home, but they have also secured a legally binding 5 year guaranteed tenancy with no rent increases! Here’s the story of how it happened!

The length of the list of urgent repairs we identified with the family was matched only by the length of the cracks in the wall and the time the family had been waiting for the landlord, Mr. Ernie Biela, and his letting agency, Central Estate Agency to fix up the house. Jabar Mohammed of CEA arrogantly and callously ignored and refused all the family’s requests for desperately needed repairs. So, while he and the landlord were getting rich from fees and rent the family members were getting asthma and poor health from living in intolerable cold and damp. Equally culpable in all this was the council, who refused to take any action when their own improvement notice and licencing conditions ordering repairs were flouted by the landlord. Box ticking, sidestepping Lisa Williams from the environmental health dept made it very clear that we would not be getting any help from the council.

Our first step was a demand letter delivery to CEA in December 2014. Mr Mohammed responded with a call to the tenants saying they should leave the house and would be evicted if they did not go. So then we demonstrated at their offices on Gloucester Road and went in for a frank discussion with Mr Mohammed. He was visibly squirming at a barrage of awkward questions and home truths from family members and supporters as well the embarrassment of the demo exposing their profiteering negligence, complete with large photos evidencing his “management” of this house of horrors. Passers by stopped to hear about the situation and were very supportive of the family’s fight for a decent home. Shortly after the demo CEA did a quick distancing job and ceased any involvement with the property, finding it all too much and folding at the first sign of pressure.

So then it was time to deal with the landlord directly. Mr. Biela is a man that likes the sound of his own voice and likes getting things his way. He tried everything to avoid his responsibilities to do the repairs. He tried to pass it off as an overcrowding issue (“Why can’t they live like normal people?” and “They like living in squalor” – actual direct quotes from him!). He clumsily attempted to sow doubt and division in a phone call to the tenants, claiming that the solidarity network is racist and possibly involved with UKIP! He chose retaliatory eviction over responsible action, issuing a notice to quit to the family shortly after a phone call in which he gave assurances that he would start the repairs soon. As a result, the family suffered a great deal of stress and anxiety facing the threat of being made homeless.

A widely publicised communications blockade of Mr. Biela and his businesses followed as we started to increase the pressure on this slum landlord. Alongside our support and actions, the tenants sought the help of South West Law, who gave excellent advice and acted quickly and decisively. They exposed the eviction notice as bogus and invalid and threatened legal action. Getting it from all sides now, Mr. Biela finally, after almost 10 years of ignoring his tenants’ requests for a liveable home, agreed to start the repairs. It was clear that the pressure was getting to him and he realised that fixing the house and fulfilling his responsibilities to the property and his tenants would actually be the cheaper option. The repairs are finished and the family are finally enjoying a home fit to live in.

We are proud to have stood alongside this determined and courageous family in their struggle. Their refusal to give up should be an inspiration to us all. Together we have shown that we can fight and win. We wish them all the best for the future. We also look forward to supporting other tenants and winning more victories for decent and safe housing for all.


Join Bristol Solidarity Network’s fight against a slum landlord and for decent housing.

Mr Ernie Biela, of 58 ETHELBERT ROAD, MARGATE, KENT, CT9 1SB is a slum landlord intent on maximum profit and minimum responsibility. A family living in one of his properties in Easton, Bristol have repeatedly asked him for much needed repairs to their home. After 8 years of ignoring his tenant’s requests for a livable home, Mr. Biela recently tried to evict them rather than do the right thing and do the repairs. He has arrogantly flouted the law and disregarded council improvement notices served on him. In phone calls to the tenants he claims to understand what life is like for immigrants and low income families. He is very quick to chase rent, claiming he will use it for repairs, but not as good at fixing the house. He agrees to send builders round to carry out work but instead sends an eviction notice which we found to be invalid. The family has suffered a great deal of stress and anxiety facing the threat of being made homeless.

The house is in an appalling state of disrepair, with a seriously leaky roof, huge cracks in walls and ceilings, broken doors, rotting window frames and intolerable mould, cold and damp. According to the council there is a class 1 hazard of mould. Four family members, including three children, have developed asthma as a result of these conditions they have been forced to live in by the landlord’s neglect.

We will not allow this absentee landlord to bully and threaten this family into keeping quiet about the state of their home. Neither will we let Mr Biela ignore his responsibility to provide a decent home and safe environment for this family.

It’s time to put the pressure on. Please take some time to support this family and make a stand against this bad landlord.

From Tuesday 21st July we are calling for an ongoing communications blockade and constant phone and email reminders for Mr. Biela.
Call and email this slum landlord to add your voice to the calls to stop the stalling and start the repairs. For calls from outside the UK add 0044 instead of the first zero of the phone numbers:

Mr Ernie Biela: Tel. 07917 570624 Email

Mr Biela is the registered director and sole shareholder of 5 companies:

LVG Canterbury Ltd  Tel. 01227 714715
Westbere Garage / Canterbury Recovery Services Ltd Tel. 01227 712381
Hedgend Motors Ltd
Mot 4 U Ltd
1 Stop Property Services Uk Ltd

All of these companies are registered here:

6-7 Cecil Square, Margate, Kent, CT9 1BD
Tel. 01843 280004

Upcoming meetings

Come and get involved with Bristol Solidarity Network, organising against bad bosses and landlords, for decent housing and workers getting paid! We are currently fighting alongside an Easton based family facing retaliatory eviction for asking their slum landlord, Mr. Ernie Biela, for repairs. We are planning imminent actions to expose the situation and those involved as well as fight for decent housing for this family. Watch this space, or better still come and lend a hand!

Next meetings:
Tuesday 11th August
Tuesday 25th August
All meetings start at 7.30pm at Kebele social centre, 14 Robertson Road, Easton. Bristol BS5 6JY.


Increase the pressure on slum landlord! CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

We’ve received details, which we’ve confirmed are legit, that the deposit is now placed in a deposit protection scheme. We therefore do not need to do the comms blockade on Monday. As always, thanks for supporting this fight, and we’ll keep you apprised of any further develpments.

Monday 12th January. Communications blockade all day long.

Join the communications blockade of Central Estate Agency and slum landlord Mr Ernie Biela.
The question is “What have you done with the tenants’ deposit?”.
Demand that they let their tenants know what the situation is with their deposit.

After Bristol Solidarity Network picketed their offices on Gloucester Road in Bristol demanding necessary repairs, CEA say they have pulled out of any involvement in “managing” the house. Jabbar Mohammed has claimed that he has passed the £800 deposit to the landlord. Mr. Biela says that he does not have it and that “the deposit is somewhere, isn’t it” and “I don’t know why you’re worried about the deposit”. They need to confirm in writing that the deposit is being put into a deposit protection scheme. Let them know that if they are not prepared to do this, the pressure will carry on and increase.

Jabbar Mohammed, Central Estate Agency
Tel: 0117 9892150
Fax: 0117 9421882

Ernie Biela, slum landlord
Tel: 07917570624

Please take a bit of time to show solidarity with a long suffering family and let the landlord and CEA know that their business will not go smoothly if they continue to avoid questions about the family’s deposit. Ring Ring! Do the right thing!

More background information on this fight for decent housing and against this greedy, lying landlord and his agents can be found in the post below…

Rotting House, Rotten Landlord

The first protesters arrived outside CEA at 10am

The tenants must stay and CEA must pay!

On Monday 22nd December, 20 members and friends of Bristol Solidarity Network demonstrated at the offices of Central Estate Agents in Bristol. There was a great deal of interest and support for the picket from passers by, many of whom said they would tell others about the situation. This marks the beginning of a campaign to expose the landlord and agents shocking neglect and threats against tenants of a house in Easton, which will continue with more actions in January. Continue reading

Fighting for Accessible Travel

Have you had a bad experience as a disabled person on Bristol taxis or buses? We’ve started a tumblr to record these experiences and start a campaign, holding the council and companies to account – both council and companies currently place all the blame solely on drivers, and dole out punishment, rather than making changes to  improve the accessibility of public transport. Do get in touch with your stories, or if you want to get involved with the campaign:

Upcoming meeting

We seem to be having a bit of a quiet period at the moment, so are going to ease up on the frequency of meetings for the time being. As such, there is no meeting on Tuesday 26th August. Next meeting is Tuesday 2nd Sept, 7.30pm at Kebele.