Take Back Control of the Housing Associations in Tower Hamlets (Old Ford/HARCA and Others)

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Take Back Control of the Housing Associations in Tower Hamlets (Old Ford Housing/Poplar HARCA and Others)

One of the Key Functions of the Tower Hamlets Council is to protect the residents in the Borough. This is not just restricted to Community Safety, but extends the council’s equally important duty to ensure a safe, secure and decent quality of life for all its citizens.

Grenfell Tower - a publicly owned housing block for lower-income households – represents an acute failure of a Local Council on all levels.

In Tower Hamlets, successive Councils for decades have not focussed on the need to provide good quality, safe and secure homes for lower-income households. This attitude is clearly illustrated by the Stock Transfers of public housing stock to private organisations, called Housing Associations. The Housing Associations in turn are more interested in increasing the values of their assets rather than the quality of life of their residents.

This weakened the Local Council’s ability to deliver on its legal responsibilities, while at the same time leaving tenants confused about the division of responsibilities between the owner of the housing (the local authority) and the managing body. Elected councillors could offload responsibility by referring complainants to the managing organisation.

Over the course in Tower Hamlets, we have seen an emphasis by Housing Associations, like Poplar HARCA and Old Ford Housing on redeveloping estates to provide high-density flats for the private market, rather than improving the homes of the council tenants and leaseholders who live there. Examples including the lack of repairs and dilapidation of tenants residents, as well as extortionate service charges like the hike in Parking Charges for low income families.

This Petition urges the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council to assist Housing Association Tenants in general and Poplar HARCA/Old Ford Housing residents in particular, in taking back control of public housing in the Borough. We want these private owners of public assets to be more democratically accountable to the residents of Tower Hamlets.

In light of the Grenfell Tower incident, the regulatory environment exists for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council to use Intermediate Management Orders under the Housing Act 2004, to take control of housing stock and force Housing Associations to carry out necessary works.

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