Agents managing a large block of flats near Stamford Hill have apologised for telling Jewish residents to take down their mezuzah from their door or pay the costs of its forced removal.
Warwick Estates, which manages Cedarwood Court by Clapton Common, fully retracted a property manager’s letter on Monday morning, acknowledging that it was “overzealous in its nature and not in keeping with our business values”.
More than 20 residents had earlier complained after receiving the take-down notice, which said any mezuzah on the door was “against the terms of the lease and will need to be removed”.
The letter continued: “Please address immediately, otherwise we will have to do so on behalf of the freeholder and any charges incurred… will be applied to the offending leaseholder’s account.”
Apologising, an associate director at the Essex-headquartered company said: “We apologise for the letter sent to some of our customers asking them to remove religious items from their property, specifically their Mezuzahs.
“We wish to make it very clear that residents of the block in question are not required to remove their Mezuzahs and they will certainly not be removed by Warwick Estates or any representatives working on our behalf.
“The letter was sent by the property manager who was attempting to perform his job in line with his interpretation of the lease. The letter was overzealous in its nature and not in keeping with our business values.
“The property manager in question and Warwick Estates are deeply sorry for any offence we have caused to the residents at the development and indeed the wider Jewish community.
“We thank the members of the Jewish community for bringing the matter to our attention and we will ensure that appropriate training takes place so mistakes such as this do not reoccur again.”
Hackney’s mayor Philip Glanville had earlier called it “very insensitive and distressing for the residents involved” while Charedi representatives hit out at what they called “open religious discrimination”.
A statement from the Stamford Hill-based Jewish Community Council (JCC) said the agents “should have researched the meaning of the mezuzah before causing pain and hurt in the Jewish community… We are deeply worried and concerned about the intentions behind this.”
They added: “Nobody in any community should ever feel discriminated against because of their religion. This kind of behaviour must be stamped out.”
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