A group of A2Dominion tenants from the Bridge Court estate in Harrow are to suspend payment of rents and service charges indefinitely pending remedial actions to fix pest infestations, potentially discriminatory processes, and disrepairs.
They describe their housing association’s actions as “negligent, inhumane, and ableist”, and assert that the problems have dragged on for years. They are now refusing to pay to live in “unsafe and unfair conditions”.
Joe*, a tenant on the estate, explained that while A2Dominion viewed the estate as just a source of income, for the tenants who live there, disrepairs and neglect have blighted lives.
We have been dealing with mice infestations, faulty heating, and now a lift that has been out of service for over eight months.
“Tenants with disabilities, young children and other health issues have been having extreme difficulties, or even the complete inability, to leave their homes.”Joe, A2Dominion Tenant
After reporting several disrepairs, and waiting months for remedial works to begin, tenants were disappointed yet again when the promised start date at the end of March came and went without any sign of action.
Another source of attrition is a compensation scheme that tenants describe as unfair because it allocates an award on the basis of which floor the tenant lives on, not the level of inconvenience they have experienced.
Tenants believe this unfairly disregards the experiences of those with mobility problems, or vulnerable tenants who suffer disproportionately for example when the boiler regularly breaks down.
Tenants also consider the level of compensation deeply inadequate for the suffering they have faced due to the landlord’s negligence and incompetence.
Joe says that the group is “determined to withhold payments and continue to campaign to be treated as humans with dignity by A2Dominion”.
The Bridge Court tenants have been assisted in forming the tenant action group by Harrow Law Centre’s housing campaigner.
The rent and service charge strike by A2Dominion tenants follows a number of others reported by SHAC since February. It is however remarkable for being the first where tenants have pledged total non-payment of rent and service charges, rather than just withholding a proportion of what they owe monthly.
SHAC offers solidarity and support to the tenants of Bridge Court.
* Not his real name
7 April 2023
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