Homes for who – Conference
News from Tower Hamlets Tenants Federation
Tower Hamlets landlords were challenged at a conference on Saturday (9-7-11) to stop the rot, protect tenancies, rents and benefits, and build council and housing association homes for rent.
Over fifty tenants from thirty estates at the Tower Hamlets Tenants Federation conference heard that only one in five of new homes in the borough is really affordable and for rent.
Councillor Rabina Khan of Tower Hamlets Council, and Joan Murphy of Poplar HARCA (on behalf of the Tower Hamlets Housing Forum of the Borough’s 67 Registered Providers) were questioned on the loss of secure, genuinely affordable homes, new rents up to 80% of market rents, how housing benefit cuts will hit tenants, leaseholder charges, and whether tenants voices were really heard.
Joan Murphy said Poplar HARCA will charge 70% market rents for new one-beds, and slightly less for bigger new homes. They will also charge up to 80% market rents on a proportion of re-lets of existing homes. HARCA will maintain life-time assured tenancies even on these high-rent homes, she said.
Councillor Rabina Khan, Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, said she wants to work with residents to make sure RP landlords build social and affordable housing. “Every single council tenant will have a secure tenancy,” she promised.
In other sessions a Residents’ Charter was developed, including demands for all landlords to recognise and support independent and democratically-representative tenants associations, and there were discussions on other linked issues.
Chair of Tower Hamlets Tenants Federation Phil Sedler, of Collingwood Estate in Whitechapel, said:
“This was the first Tenants Federation conference in 30 years in Tower Hamlets. With 23.000 on the waiting list locally, record overcrowding and homelessness rising again, tenants are getting organised, to take up the fight for the homes we need – not the luxury housing we can’t afford.”
Councillor Khan also said that it was “an excellent idea to have an independent tenants voice” in the borough.