THE DISTRESSED TENANTS
OF LONGTOWN AT LAST
GET A CHANCE
TO SPEAK OUT
Things have moved quickly in Longtown, near Carlisle since the spotlight was turned on a stormy meeting in the town and a large number of annoyed and frustrated tenants.
What that spotlight vividly revealed is a far worse situation than annoyance and frustration. Tenants are in fact distressed. They are suffering serious fuel poverty as their fuel bills rocket by up to 400 per cent.
They are forced to eat and sleep in one room because they cannot afford to heat other rooms. And this appalling situation has gone on for nearly two years with one old lady facing a fuel bill of £3,500.
Tenants are unable to understand why this has dragged on over two winters - and why tenants who complain have been threatened with eviction. Tenants suspect a cover-up.
A group of them, desperate for help, contacted Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation –the Federation publishes this blog- and at meeting in Carlisle they urged support for some emergency action.
The disastrous story started when their landlord, Riverside Housing Association, a giant Liverpool property organisation, decided to install solar panels in 175 properties in Longtown with the promise of cheaper electricity fortenants through reduced fuel bills.
But it didn`t work out like that and for about half the properties, fuel bills rocketed. And there has been no sign of the £70 a week that tenants estimate each property makes through the sale of electricity to the national grid.
The Federation quickly responded to the tenants` approach with a protest sent to Riverside and request for an urgent investigation and emergency action to help the 80 or so affected.
|Supporting constituents ..Rory Stewart|
M.P (holding document)
He says "no heating is unacceptable"
Picture taken near Kirkby Stephen.
Two local councillors, Ray Bloxham ( Mayor of Carlisle) and Val Tarbitt are also very concerned and like Mr Stewart are giving the tenants total support.And the four Carlisle city councillors on the board of Riverside have also been contacted for help.
A Federation spokesman said today:”This is a shocking story, particularly the threat to evict those who complain. Riverside seems to have no duty of care for its tenants >>>nor any respect for its tenancy agreements.
“Tenants have no voice- no democratic body to represent them. Riverside abolished about a dozen democratic local tenants groups when it took over the council houses in the Carlisle area eleven years ago.
“That abolition was a disgrace. It now appears that Riverside`s answer to distressed tenants who complain is a threat to evict them.”
Community Voice Carlisle is the blog of Carlisle Tenants and Residents` Federation. Information about the Federation is on the first post of this blog, dated March 25 2013