Fresh policy brings in the bailiffs
Most occupants had left before they arrived, but in one flat an illegal occupier protested vehemently as she cleared out her furniture. As with the majority of evictions there was no violence.
In another flat the occupants clearly did not believe that after all the warning letters, this time the council was not bluffing. The food in the fridge, the television, beds and other furniture all suggested the tenants still thought it was their home. But they would return to find the council's joiner had replaced the locks.
It is a slack week for the bailiffs as the Christmas break means fewer warrants for evictions have come through. But with Southwark applying for possession orders on 100 properties a week, it promises to get busier. If tenants turn up at special hearings held on Wednesdays, they stand a good chance of getting the possession order suspended in return for promising to pay off some of the arrears. If they fail to keep to the terms of the order Southwark will proceed to evict without having to go back to court.
'There has been a history of ducking and diving in Southwark, of not paying what you can get away with,' said Mike Gibson, the chairman of Southwark council's housing committee. 'In order to get across the message that we are serious we have no alternative to eviction.'
Gone are the ruling Labour group's policies of the mid-Eighties, which refused to countenance evicting squatters or tenants in arrears. With the borough no longer meriting the title 'squatter's paradise', those intent on squatting have to move to other boroughs.
'Our squatting used to be a form of social Darwinism, with fit young men taking over properties that were needed more by teenage mothers with children,' said Mr Gibson.
'For the first time in about five years we can definitely offer homeless families a home - it won't be Buckingham Palace, more likely the North Peckham Estate - but it will be a home rather than bed and breakfast.'
Have shock jocks gone too far after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut?
Former Google exec says he has 100,000 emails showing how 'immoral' company avoids paying UK tax
British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
World news in pictures
British father faces charges after confessing to slitting his two children's throats in Lyon flat
- 1 British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 2 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 3 Sam Wallace: The second coming of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea will be a reunion that can only end in tears
- 4 Gay marriage: David Cameron takes on the 'wreckers' among Conservative MPs in key vote
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£500 per day: Orgtel: A top tier banking client urgently requires Finance Gove...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Randstad Education is the market le...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Randstad Education London: A leading Further Educat...
£500 - £680 per day: Orgtel: Quantitative Risk Analyst, Front Office/Risk Bank...