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Landlord removes giant iPhone advert blocking daylight into poverty-hit families' homes

Conrad Duncan
An iPhone advert that blocked daylight to families living in a London apartment block has been taken down: Alex Armitage

A large iPhone advert that blocked natural light for poverty-hit families living in a London apartment block has been taken down after campaigners called for its removal.

A report by The Independent revealed that residents were unable to see daylight out of their windows for three years after the advertising hoarding was put up.

They had described feeling “isolated” and “blocked out from everything” by the advertisement, which was put up without their consent.

Alex Armitage, a Green Party parliamentary candidate who campaigned against the advert, said the landlord sent a crane to remove the hoarding on Saturday night.

“After weeks of campaigning by the Green Party, the London Renters Union, Open Dalston and others, we’ve managed to pressurise the landlords into removing the hoarding,” Mr Armitage said.

“This victory came about not only because of the diligence of Hackney Green Party activists who spoke compassionately to the people living in this building but because of our willingness to work across party lines with the local Labour councillor, as well as fantastic community organisations, such as the London Renters’ Union.”

BlowUp Media, the company that owns the advertising space, declined to comment when asked about the removal.

Sevineh Nazif, who lives in one of the flats, told The Independent that she felt “abandoned” over the issue.

“When the windows are closed I can’t breathe, I feel claustrophobic. We can never get light in here. We never see the sun, it feels like we’re blocked out from everything,” she said.

Ms Nazif and another resident, Ahmed Mehjoob, added that they were both warned by the landlord against creating a hole in the advert to allow natural light into their rooms.

Hackney Green Party described the removal of the hoarding as a “great victory” for residents.

“It’s shocking that Hackney Council ever allowed this to happen,” they said.

A Hackney Council spokesperson said they are "delighted" that the advert has been taken down and the council is investigating conditions inside the buildings.

"These adverts were installed illegally, and the owner’s failure to remove them previously despite previous enforcement attempts by the Council shows not just the greed of some landlords but also the challenges councils face preventing this kind of advertising," the spokesperson said.

"We have not used this property for homeless families since 2015, before the adverts were installed.

"We are now investigating the conditions inside the buildings, and will not hesitate to serve notices on the landlord if the homes here fail to meet the standards that we expect and the residents deserve."

The council added that it will continue to work "to ensure any similar adverts that have been installed without consent in the borough are removed".

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Giant iPhone advert blocking out daylight to poverty-hit families