Falling Metal: Close Escape for One Housing Tenant

Bessie Smith* a keyworker and tenant of One Housing Group (OHG) in Newham was left shaken and afraid to leave her home after a 20 kilogram lump of lead fell from an upstairs neighbour’s window.

For the latest news on this story, see It’s All a Facade.

The slab of lead that narrowly missed Ms Smith

Speaking from her home Ms Smith said:

“The slab of metal could have easily killed me or any of the residents in London Plane House. The landlord’s garden maintenance team had been working there too, and were also at risk. The state of the building must have been known to OHG and should have been repaired before it became so dangerous.”

“Children and families use the garden. It’s where the gas metres are installed and tenants use the space a lot, especially during the lockdown.”

The landlord has been informed but so far, tenants have received no contact from them, nor has there been any visible sign of the other windows being inspected, nor indeed safety work being done on similar OHG flats in the area.

The slab of lead that fell from an upstairs window has not yet been removed
The window showing clearly where the lump of lead originated

Tenants are now considering what action to take. The Social Housing Action Campaign (SHAC), which is representing Ms Smith, says the problem is all too common:

“The safety of residents should be paramount, but regularly comes a poor second to the accumulation of surpluses. Unfortunately, housing associations are feverishly developing for the open market and full-price rental, and it’s a case of quantity over quality and profit over people, as the cladding scandal shows.

“But, we at SHAC are not letting landlords off the hook. We are demanding answers from executives and politicians, to make them accountable for the lives of their tenants and workers”

SHAC organises SHAC@OHG, formed to campaign for a better deal for tenants and residents of this giant landlord. The primary improvements needed relate to repairs, maintenance, genuine tenant and resident engagement, fairer rents and service charges, fire safety including addressing the cladding scandal, and the right to transfer. See more here.

* Bessie Smith’s identity is being protected to safeguard against potential victimisation by the landlord.

13 November 2020

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