Lewisham council tenant desperate for help?

by Readers Question

8:53 AM, 5th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Lewisham council tenant desperate for help?

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Lewisham council tenant desperate for help?

My sister is a Lewisham council tenant for over 25 years and for the last 8 months her life has been a living hell.  There is water coming into her property, the walls are wet the cupboards are rotting spoiling all her food, the flat smells, she is being sick from the fumes, they came and stripped all the walls put in humidifiers all this happened in early May, nothing else was done, now the water is flooding the floor they came and pumped it out next day the water was back.desperate

The council told my sister she can give up her flat and go into a old people’s home or sheltered housing, they are refusing to move her.

Let me tell you about my sister she is a retired nurse of 65, she is diabetic now because of what she is going through her blood pressure is very high her Dr is now worried about her heart and she is now on pills for depression.

I went on meetings with her housing officer all he says is that there is nothing he can do, but he does everything he can to stop her being moved.

Please if anyone can tell me what to do how can we make the council do the right thing, please let me know.



Jay James

20:49 PM, 8th January 2017
About 4 years ago


Page 6 implies we, you and me, subsidise public/council/HA housing. Only a politician could argue otherwise. In any case, without absolute tranparency people will be suspicious that we, you and me, part pay for public/HA housing.

Neil Hewitt

8:10 AM, 9th January 2017
About 4 years ago

Re: Jonathan's questions.

1. Improvement notices are served as you 'manage' the flats. The fact that you have been served with improvement notices does show that you are managing the flats. It is just your opinion about the flat next door, firstly you need to demonstrate that the flat is still managed by the council (or an ALMO etc.), next, you would need to prove by way of a condition survey or a dilapidations survey as regards the flat next door, that you comments are valid. Otherwise the readers on here have to rely upon your subjective comments.

2. Your statement is an example of the current 'post truth' statements popular with notable figures in the media, and they are not fact based. The answer is from the rent that tenants pay. As stated before, the money does not come from the taxpayer, albeit for 'housing benefit/local housing allowance'. The fact that organisations (council, ALMO, RSL) can provide a service, that maintains the flats, along with other services, with rent that is below that of the private sector, does prove that the private sector overcharges, for what is in effect a public service.

Jonathan Clarke

9:24 AM, 9th January 2017
About 4 years ago

1) I think you misunderstand my question maybe I didn`t put it well . I`m asking you ( with your experience and background) of your thinking / your view as to why you think the EHO is not tasked with enforcement of health standards in council owned flats as well as my leasehold flats. They seem the obvious authorised body that should carry out this task in both types of tenures and thereby offer protection to both sets of tenants within?

If not, then the council tenants seem to have no recourse against any alleged poor maintenance standards unless they themselves take out a private legal civil action at their own expense against the council . My tenants however are protected by the EHO whose prosecution of me would be funded by the taxpayer. That seems unfair

2) It was your statement not mine. I just asked you a question arising from your statement. The council tenants rent would surely not be anywhere near enough to fund council house building / maintenance etc. This i would imagine be heavily funded by the taxpayer. I would like to see the figures on that. Many of my tenants rent precisely because they cant afford to buy or build

Neil Hewitt

10:54 AM, 9th January 2017
About 4 years ago

The rent that council tenants do pay, does cover the cost of maintenance, some councils may borrow money to build new homes, and those repayment costs still have to come from the rental income. The finances are audited internally, and externally to ensure this regime is adhered to. Many years ago, a council could either fund council housing, or, to make a profit from it, that all stopped a long time ago.
Then there was a system where rent was handed over to central government, and then the money handed back to each council department was decided by central government according to the needs of that area, such as some inner city areas. This all changed a few years ago, and now the money stays with the council housing budget, rather than going to central government, which is a theme of decentralisation anyhow.
In previous decades, there have been central government grants to build council homes, even under Margaret Thatcher, but that has now gone, and instead housing providers have to borrow the money.
The world of public housing finance is very complex, and I have only been involved at the periphery, but on the whole, council housing is now not subsidized by taxpayers.

A council cannot enforce upon it's own stock, that is a basis of law, and an individual tenant if aggrieved would have to first use the internal complaints procedure, which in my experience is usually effective. The tenants that can lose out, are those who for whatever reason do not raise an issue, such as having physical or mental disabilities, and ideally, they need someone to speak out on their behalf, which does not always happen, as some people do not have a family to fall back on, and some people such as careworkers do not have the time to follow issues through, leading to some tenants that do fall through the net, as does happen in all aspects of housing, health and social care.

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