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What lays ahead if we do nothing?

Mike Lane | 31.05.2004 11:15 | Liverpool

If we as responsible left wing emancipated working class people don’t address the issue of housing we will go backwards to another Victorian age where private landlords will ruthlessly exploit the poor.

Firstly, as well as having thousands of people on their waiting lists most Housing Associations, or Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s), as they are now known, have closed all their lists. This closing of their waiting lists has caused thousands of would be RSL tenants to go to the private landlord sector where landlords are charging anything from £80 to £100 per week to rent out their properties. This means that many of the most vulnerable in our society will never be able to work because they would be paying most of their weekly wage on rent and community tax. Whilst posting leaflets for the forthcoming local elections I spoke with a single parent mother who had resigned herself to the fact that she would never work again and in effect would be on benefits for years. She told me that her landlord was charging £95 per week rent for the house that she was living in. She said where’s the incentive for me to get a low paid job when most of the money I get will go out on rent and community tax? She told me that she had been on Riverside’s housing list for six years and had never been given an offer of one of their properties. Generally RSL properties are much cheaper than private landlord properties. There are thousand of people like this lady throughout Merseyside and absolutely nothing is being done to address this dreadfull issue.

It also became quite apparent to me that Riverside Housing and all the other RSL’s in the Kensington Fairfield ward are boarding up all their large town houses and not letting flats out to needy single tenants on their waiting lists. They are also boarding up most of their small houses with steal shuttering. It looks like many of the houses which are empty will be done up at a cost of around about £12, 000 and sold to demolition homeowners from the New Deal for Communities (NDC) area, one third of which encroaches the Kensington Fairfield ward. Some 700 houses in the NDC zone have now been earmarked for demolition. There were originally about 250 homeowners and 450 RSL, private, and council tenants living in this area Riverside’s Community 7 have sat back and waited for the tenants to move through natural migration, boarded the houses up and not put new tenants in. The tenants who will be left, about 250 will be rehoused in other areas outside of the NDC zone. This means that they will be disenfranchised as stakeholders in the £62 NDC initiative and is further proof that this so called community led £62m NDC funding is going to be used to gentrify the area.

What Riverside and most of the other RSL’s working in partnership with the corrupt council intend to do is kill two birds with one stone. i.e. they and the council will give the demolition homeowners £35,000 for their old house, which is well below the market rate, then they will offer the homeowner one of the houses that they have stolen from the tenants for the £35,000 that they and the council gave the demolition homeowner. This means they get shut of their old stock and get massive grants of central government’s corrupt Housing Corporation for new builds. These RSL’s are trying to get shut of their old properties because they cost too much to maintain.

Many RSL’s are pushing ahead with their plans to coerce and con council tenants into voting yes to transferring their council houses (council houses are publicly owned. This means that the council tenants, who are members of the public, actually own the council houses they live in, and the land that the houses are built on) over to whatever RSL that is chosen by the dominant culture that exists at local government level (most of these new RSL’s are subsidiaries of bigger RSL’s, as in the case of Riverside’s Community 7). When the tenants vote yes to transfer the corrupt RSL’s working in partnership with the corrupt council demolish large swathes of the former council houses and engage corrupt builders to build middle class enclaves on what used to be public land. This is now happening in Norris Green and Croxteth. These enclaves normally consist of about 90 to 150 houses. The corrupt builder normally sells one quarter of these houses to whatever RSL is prominent in the area, the rest are sold off at over £100,000 each. It’s rather perverse isn’t it? The government cuts all grants to the councils, who in turn let the council estates fall into massive disrepair. The council and the corrupt RSL’s then let antisocial tenants move in and after a short period of time the whole area resembles a scene from war torn Beirut. They then use the tenants who have bought their own houses as a further tool to oppress and coerce the tenants to transfer over to an RSL. The homeowners are then rewarded with one of the new builds for rent, i.e. they get paid out for their old house when it is demolished and then are offered a former tenants house which has been refurbished in another area or given the opportunity of renting one of the new builds for rent. The oppressed tenants, who have not got a clue as to what is going on, are given three offers in three crap areas and if they refuse all three they are evicted.

The corrupt council have already paid out hundreds of thousands of pounds to corrupt consultants and surveyors who come into the area and tell the RSL’s what houses can be done up and what houses should be demolished. Many of the large town houses that used to be split into flats will be done up as one large town house and sold to rich yuppies who want large houses.

The new NDC RSL Community 7, which is a subsidiary of Riverside Housing, is boarding up all its large buildings in the NDC zone. Surely perilous times lay ahead for us RSL and private landlord tenants.

Mike Lane
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