GIVE SOUTHWARK’S TENANTS AND LEASEHOLDERS A FAIR DEAL: LIB DEMS

Southwark tenants and leaseholders deserve a fair deal from the Council if they have not received the service they pay for, say opposition councillors.

As the number of complaints about the Council’s housing department continues to rise, Southwark Liberal Democrats have called on the Labour administration to consider a new ‘Fair Deal’ to give tenants and leaseholders a rebate when things go wrong.

The rebate would be awarded to any Southwark tenant or leaseholder who does not receive the service they should as set out in their tenancy agreement or lease.  Service failures might include lift breakdowns, communal area lights not working or missed cleaning and refuse collections.

The idea came about following complaints from tenant and leaseholder groups about housing service failures and the lack of council communication or compensation.  Southwark Liberal Democrat councillors tabled a motion on the proposal at a meeting of the council but were defeated when every Labour councillor voted against the proposal.

Commenting, Southwark Liberal Democrat spokesperson for housing, Councillor Hamish McCallum, said:

“It’s not fair that while the Council is quick enough to start legal action against tenants and leaseholders who fall into rent or service charge arrears, the same standards don’t apply when the Housing Department fails to provide the service it should.

“It is clear that there are real problems with the way the Council is providing some housing services.  Complaints are up, yet proper apologies and giving residents their money back when failures occur are not standard council policy.  This needs to change.”

Surrey Docks ward councillor James Okosun said:

“Liberal Democrats are fighting for more affordable homes and better housing.  That’s why we are proposing a new rebate scheme. 

“If the council doesn’t provide the basic housing services it should, and that tenants and leaseholders have paid for, the Council should be held to account, admit it got it wrong and pay the money back.”