Uproar over eviction of old woman

A national controversy has broken out in Sweden after a disabled 83-year old woman with Parkinson's was told she would be evicted from her apartment in Sundsvall.

The HSB housing cooperative in Sundsvall told 83-year old Maj Holmblad on Friday that she will be evicted on Tuesday from her condominium (bostadsrätt). Holmblad has lived in the flat for 65 years, but was recently late in paying her service fee on three occasions. She has spend much of the past few months in hospital and in temporary stays at old people’s homes.

The national chairwoman of HSB, Gun-Britt Mårtensson told news agency TT that she was upset.

“I am distressed, to say the least. It’s just this kind of thing that shouldn’t be happening in housing cooperatives.” But Mårtensson said that HSB’s head office has no power to step in, and all local associations have power over their own affairs.

Holmblad’s case has become something of a cause celebre, with tabloid Aftonbladet collecting over 50,000 names in an online petition against the eviction.

The deputy chairman of the Sundsvall association responsible for evicting Holmblad told Aftonbladet that as well not paying her fee, the 83-year old had not kept the flat in good condition. Per-Erik Eriksson admitted that the state of Holmblad’s apartment had not inconvenienced her neighbours, but insisted that the apartment “should be kept in a certain condition.”

Eriksson also admitted that Holmblad had paid her fees since the summer, “but it was too late.” The apartment is due to be sold at auction on Tuesday.