Campaigners have vowed to protest at the majority of Barnet Mayor Councillor Hugh Rayner’s events until he has the “integrity” to resign over claims he is a rogue landlord.
Barnet Alliance for Public Services and tenants of the West Hendon Estate are furious over allegations Cllr Rayner acted illegally towards tenants living in the properties he owns.
He was invited to speak at mental health charity Mind’s annual meeting in Christchurch Avenue, North Finchley, yesterday – but was greeted by a mob of people holding placards reading ‘Rayner resign.’ T
They handed out leaflets explaining the first citizen’s alleged wrongdoing to passers by and those entering the meeting, but refrained from disturbing the actual meeting itself.
BAPS member Barbara Jacobson said: “He has such serious allegations against him which he has not publicly denied, but has tried to excuse and dismiss.
“We shouldn’t have someone who is under this cloud of illegal and unethical behaviour representing us. He should put himself aside until he’s been investigated.
“We as Barnet residents are appalled by the behaviour and how this smudges our whole council, bringing our town into some kind of disrepute. We won’t allow this behaviour, not here.”
Last Tuesday, protestors went to Hendon Town Hall for Barnet Borough Council’s full council meeting to put pressure on him to stand down from his role.
Councillor Rayner is currently under investigation by Barnet’s monitoring officer for a range of complaints relating to housing issues.
He has been accused of overcharging his tenants on housing benefit rents almost 55 per cent above market rate, and intimidating tenants by arriving late at night for contracts to be signed.
In addition, he also failed to declare his interest as a landlord when voting on housing policies in the council chamber.
Ruth Kutner, a BAPS member, said: “We will follow Rayner wherever he is invited as our mayor, because he should have the integrity to resign whilst under investigation for allegations involving non-disclosure of conflict of interest as a landlord and a councillor.”
When quizzed by the Times Series, Cllr Rayner apologised for raising rent at any time during the contract and asking witnesses to pre-sign tenancy agreements.
But he denied any wrongdoing on other matters, including intimidating witnesses and using young children as translators.