Westminster Labour will stand up to Housing Associations
Year in, year out, Labour Councillors help residents facing all kinds of different housing problems such as delayed repairs, damp, overcrowding, poorly delivered major works and spiralling service charges. Depressingly, for organisations that were often initially created to help the end the scourge of poor quality housing, Housing Associations are often among the worst offenders in the way they respond to local residents concerns.
Westminster Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing Liza Begum has written to the Chief Executive of Notting Hill Genesis to raise Labour’s concerns about spiralling service charges for tenants and leaseholders that have more than doubled in some cases and poor performance in tackling repairs. However, they are far from alone in not doing all that they should be to support their residents.
Peabody and Network Homes are other large providers that regularly need to be pushed by councillors to take action. For too long the sector has focused on housing development away from Westminster and has selling off homes in our city to pay for it.
If elected to run Westminster Council on May 5th Labour will use all the powers available to it to try and improve the way Housing Associations treat Westminster residents.
- Create a ‘preferred providers’ list for housing associations that want to get local Section 106 contracts or otherwise build in Westminster, only for associations that are treating their residents fairly.
- Call out and campaign against Housing Associations selling off and not replacing their homes in Westminster.
- Campaign for national reforms in the housing association sector.
- Improve Council environmental health team enforcement when Housing Associations fail to meet the required standards.
- Request the Regulator of Social Housing investigates potential breaches of the Home Standard that have caused “serious detriment” to tenants either through poor repairs or housing management services by those organisations.
- Support community housing cooperatives (learning from the example of WECH here in Westminster) and other resident-led approaches to housing management.
Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Liza Begum said:
“Too often Housing Associations in Westminster have been taking residents for granted, offering them poor service and raising their bills, often while selling off homes here without replacing them.
Labour wants to work with providers that are genuinely willing to improve but if elected we will do everything in our power to ensure Housing Associations to improve standards”.