Saturday, November 25, 2006
Our tenants Association
"Our tenants association has been going for 18 months now. We started up after
the lift that services my floor broke down and was off for over 4 months with
no explanation or official word from the housing department. So we booked a
room in a local community centre and wrote a leaflet which we delivered to
every flat saying how angry we were about the lift, and telling everyone about
At first the housing were totally dismissive of us because they wanted us to be
a sweetheart association. They tried to dictate our constitution and wanted to
sit in on all our meetings. However we just carried on anyway. We set up an
email account and a blog, which is a very easy way to have a website that can
be kept up to date.
We've already had successes with the main things we've been campaigning on. The
lift motors are currently being replaced on all 6 lifts that service the 3 high
rise blocks. One of our members has got her plumbing fixed so that she now can
run a washing machine. That was a big battle as the water pressure is too low
in most of the flats but the housing don't want to have to pay to put it right
One major lesson we've learnt is to escalate to the next person up the chain if
you don't get anywhere with the housing officer. Also we contact our
councilors, MSPs and MPs if we aren't happy with the response from the housing.
We have put out press releases and got in the local newspaper a couple of times
which really embarrassed the housing. We also painted on 2 large sheets "FIX
OUR LIFTS NOW" and hung them from the top floor balconies – they looked amazing
and you could see them across the whole neighbourhood!
If you're not prepared to fight for what you want, you won't get it. The first
step is to complain, but don't let it lie, keep on demanding that they fix the
problem. Talk to your neighbours. Most people in our blocks had given up trying
to get things done, whether it was repairs to their own flats or the common
areas. But its that attitude that lets our communities crumble away. We need to
fight for the fabric of our neighbourhoods because with a bit of effort we can
get improvements not just in the buildings but also in people's confidence that
we really can get together and shape a better world.
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