Hondo tightens grip on Brixton Market with new eviction

A market trader has been served an eviction notice in the latest move by an American property developer buying up vast chunks of Brixton.

Suleiman Oloko, 57, who owns Village News, off Market Row, woke up on Monday to find his shop boarded up and surrounded by security.

The father-of-three was served an eviction notice by landlord Hondo Enterprise – run by Texan millionaire and DJ Taylor McWilliams – for falling behind on rent. He had an outstanding payment of £17,000.

Mr Oloko said: “Two months ago I fell behind. The rent and service charges are too high. I can’t afford it.”

Mr Oloko is faced with £1,300 in service charges and £2,200 in rent each month for his shop (Picture: Save Nour)

Mr Oloko is faced with £1,300 in service charges and £2,200 in rent each month for his shop. He also pays £800 a month in rent for his flat, which is close by. 

The shop owner claimed he had raised questions regarding the service charges with the developer, but said they were unreceptive. A spokesman from Hondo said the eviction was served after “numerous” failed attempts to engage with Mr Oloko and that he had fallen into eight months of rent arrears, not two months as Mr Oloko claims.

As well as struggling to keep up with the “overwhelming” charges, Mr Oloko suffered a stroke in March 2023.

He had to stop working for a month and said he has struggled to get back on top of his payments since.

He said: “When they told me I was behind on payments I said I could pay £10,000 – it was all I had – but they refused.

Suleiman Oloko has owned Village News for nine years and said he has never fallen behind on rent, until now (Picture: Save Nour)

“Whatever money I make goes on rent. I have never had issues before this. I have always paid it on time.”

Mr Oloko has owned Village News for nine years.

He said: “I was here before they bought the market. Since Covid things have been getting bad.

“Now they have blocked up my shop and I can’t get in. That’s my livelihood, my everything, my income.”

Hondo Enterprises bought the freehold and leasehold for Brixton Market and Market Row in 2018 for £37million. At the time, it released a statement promising to maintain the market’s ‘unique character’. 

But since the purchase, campaigners have said the developer has “targeted” shops with evictions if they do not cater to a “middle-class audience”.

Campaigners have hit out at Hondo Enterprises for evicting businesses which do not cater to a specific audience (Picture: Save Nour)

The campaign group Save Nour – set up in 2020 to dispute the eviction of Nour Cash and Carry from Brixton’s Market Row – is calling for lawyers to help Mr Oloko appeal his eviction.

A spokeswoman from the group said: “Anyone who lives in Brixton knows Suleiman’s Village News. 

“To have him evicted under the cover of night during his time of need is beyond reprehensible. 

“We hope Hondo Enterprises soon wake up and see that these evictions will leave the market empty of the people it caters to.” 

A spokesman from Hondo Enterprises said: “We can confirm that after a protracted period of non-payment of rent and non-communication, termination of the tenancy for Village News came into effect on February 5.

“Despite numerous attempts to reach out to the tenant, over several months, he was unresponsive, making no attempt to agree a payment plan or settlement. The tenant made contact only after the locks were changed by the bailiff.

“We have a constructive relationship with our tenants and repeated failures to meet tenancy obligations, including rent and service charge, have a wider negative impact on the entire Brixton Village community.”

Pictured top: Suleiman Oloko woke up on Monday to find his shop boarded up (Picture: Save Nour)

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