Saturday, November 25, 2006
washing machine victory
Tenant Alice Coy of the middle block has now had her water pressure fixed to allow her to run a washing machine. Previously water travelled from a rooftop storage tank to a tank in her house. As the water was coming from a tank in her house the pressure wasn't sufficient to run a washing machine. Her water also tasted nasty as the tank will never have been cleaned. Now a pipe has been fitted to miss out this tank.
"My water tastes great... I've been washing an industrial amount of clothes since I got it fixed."
Before Alice had to manually fill her washing machine, in a degrading and tedious process that lasted twenty minutes or more, and required her to be at home by the washing machine while cleaning her clothes.
"I'm a student - I need clean uniforms every day."
GHA had told Alice that a washing machine was a luxury item, and that if she got the repairs necessary to make hers work properly done privately then she would be liable for any damage caused. This is what they tell all tenants in Cedar. However Alice challenged the local housing manager Stephen McAvoy during a meeting organised by the tenants association that his wife wouldn't like to be told that a washing machine was a luxury item. McAvoy agreed, and as the meeting was recorded and the transcript posted on this website, Alice has never since been told that a washing machine is a luxury item. In fact the GHA carried out a study and paid a contractor to look into the problem. The contractor then issued a report which was passed onto the tenants association outlining the options available for the GHA. The recommended solution costs them £250 per household. This is less than they make a month from each of us (average rent bills are around £300 per month). It took a while, and much faffing but eventually Alice's washing machine is now fixed, is yours?
The tenants association is aware that people are still being told that a washing machine is a luxury item. Yet Alice's washing machine has now been fixed. Alice doesn't think it's fair that she should get special treatment because she's annoyed the GHA with constant emails and telephone calls. Neither do we. If you live in Cedar and you have a water pressure problem, you can't run your washing machine, or your water isn't fit to drink we want to hear from you. Let us know by emailing email@example.com today
Tenant pressure works
Alice has now had her water pressure fixed because she, and the rest of the tenants association didn't take 'NO!' for an answer. The lifts in the three tower blocks are now being fixed because we fought for them to be fixed, and a number of other victories have been achieved.
We will fight to ensure fairness. If the GHA can fix the water pressure for Alice, they can fix it for everyone else, now.
Join the tenants Association today, and help us fight for a better community. With your help we get stronger and everyone benefits.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries about this post, or the association, you live in Cedar and want to join the association, or if you have water pressure problems and you want us to take up your case.
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.