Following an article in the Daily Mirror, which highlighted how poorly Camden maintain their housing stock - full story here Marx de Morais has written a piece, published in the CNJ, about how Camden Council is failing its tenants.
Residents of Camden have been reaching out to me in increasing numbers, expressing their concerns over the deplorable conditions in their council-homes. Mould and damp have become a major issue, and it's baffling that the council seems to be turning a blind eye to this growing problem. This is not just a matter of discomfort, it's a serious threat to the health and well-being of the residents, and a risk to the lives of children and other vulnerable friends and neighbours.
This sheds light on the council's inability to properly manage and maintain its housing stock. Instead making its tenants suffer from a massive increase in rents for the second year in a row.
Rather than taking responsibility, the local Labour-led Council has blamed the central government for lack of funding. However, the truth is far from what the Labour party is promoting. The central government's policy of a 1% annual reduction of council housing rents between 2016 and 2020, resulted in a balanced 4% cut in tenants' rents. This helped low-income households afford their housing costs and should have helped to reduced the number of households in arrears and evictions.
Camden Council's Mouldy Excuse: Rent Hike or Health Risk?
The Labour-led Council is now pretending that the demanded, manageable central government support for those who are struggling the most is Camden's biggest problem and should be reversed. And so, with just another massive 7% hike in rents, they are ensuring that tenants' woes continue to grow. That Camden has the third most dilapidated council homes in the UK, is not the central-governments fault and it is not the fault of tenants; it is a result of the continued failure to invest in regular maintenance and inadequate support to report mould and damp issues. All this points to the council's negligence in providing safe and habitable housing. And now they dare to tell us, that higher rents are the only possible way to cope with mould and damp? This is not only flawed reasoning but also an insult to tenants who are paying more for the same poor-quality service.
It's time for Camden Council to step up and take responsibility for the dire state of their social housing stock. Around one in five UK homes have a damp and mould problem, and with 33,000 homes managed by Camden, it's estimated that there could be as many as 6,600 affected homes in the area. A study by Shelter UK found that the average cost of repairing damp and mould in social housing is £4,000 per home, totalling £26 million to fix the problem in Camden. The 7% rent increase planned for this year alone bringing in an additional £8+ million. Investing this money over four years can ensure homes in the area are fit for their inhabitants.
We than must build on this, investing in long-term solutions to prevent mould and damp in the future. The council could take several measures, including regular inspections, prioritizing emergency repairs, providing support and resources for tenants, implementing stricter regulations and guidelines for landlords (Camden itself is the largest landlord in Camden). We must hold the council accountable! Let's not let excuses or blame-shifting stand in the way of creating a safe and livable community for all.
As I bring attention to the dire state of social housing in Camden, it is crucial to remember the above-mentioned human impact of this issue. Let us come together for the sake of Camden’s children who should not have to grow up in mould-infested homes, and for the sake of all our neighbours who should not have to suffer through the indignity of living in dilapidated homes.
And now let me summaries the above in clear words: Labour in Camden has cooked up a doozy of an excuse for their latest rent hike - they claim it's the only way to tackle the pesky problem of mould and damp! Oh, the drama! Is it a bold solution to a nagging issue, or a creative way to wring more money out of already struggling tenants? Only time will tell, folks! But one thing's for sure - the show must go on in the world of Camden housing.
Labour in Camden has cooked up a doozy of an excuse for their latest rent hike - they claim it's the only way to tackle the pesky problem of mould and damp! Oh, the drama! Is it a bold solution to a nagging issue, or a creative way to wring more money out of already struggling tenants? Only time will tell, folks! But one thing's for sure - the show must go on in the world of Camden housing.
Marx de Morais