East End peace deal ends housing ‘warfare’

A NEW deal has been reached in the volatile relationship between leaseholders and social landlords to prevent ‘open warfare’ over service charges and repair bills on housing estates.

A recognition contract has been signed by East End Homes with leaseholders on its six housing estates.

The deal—one of the first in London—gives home owners guaranteed rights to be consulted and to have accounts independently audited.

It affects 1,550 households on six estates in Spitalfields, Wapping and the Isle of Dogs.

Homeowners have been worried about future regeneration plans and affordable service provision on mixed tenure estates.

“There are problems with decaying housing, costs getting out of control and anti-social behaviour on estates,” a statement from East End Housing & Leaseholders & Freehold Association points out.

“We hope this deal goes some way to reducing the tensions between the landlord and residents which risked breaking out into ‘open warfare.’

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“Recognition means ordinary households can take back control of their homes and their lives. It means sharing decision-making and landlords realising we are in it together for the long haul.”

Campaigners who brokered the deal last Thursday believe they now have the precedent for all council and social landlord housing across East London.

Tower Hamlets Leaseholders Association’s Andrew Coles told the East London Advertiser: “Leaseholders had no voice over their own homes and had prices and so-called improvements imposed on them whether they liked it or not.

“But we’re upbeat about the deal. It’s a new chapter for us.”

Campaigners have been at odds with social landlords going back a decade over service charges and repairs.

Pensioners or those on minimum wages, they points out, could be landed with a �30,000 bill to replace the roof, lifts or windows in blocks or repairs to estate roads which would feel like “the writing on the wall—compulsory purchase.”

The vision of ‘Right To Buy’ under Thatcher had turned into the nightmare of the ‘Obligation to Sell’.

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