As residents of Peabody and Family Mosaic, we fear losing our rights if the two housing associations become one
Housing associations have preserved an image of being more socially responsible than private landlords or local authorities. In fact, their drive to become more commercial and the way they treat tenants means they are often little better.
In response, housing association residents are getting organised to defend our rights. Our campaign group, Peabody Family Voice, launched in January after a consultation meeting organised by Peabody in late November left us angry. We are opposing the amalgamation of Peabody and Family Mosaic, two of London’s largest housing associations. The two organisations merged in 2017, but full amalgamation, which has yet to be approved by the Peabody board, would mean all Family Mosaic tenants becoming Peabody tenants.
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As tenants and residents of Peabody and Family Mosaic Housing Associations, we have come together to insist that:
* Peabody and Family Mosaic must not amalgamate. The amalgamation of these two Housing Associations is not in our best interests. Each is already too large, remote, and unaccountable to its tenants. As they have grown, services have deteriorated exponentially, and this must stop.
* Peabody and Family Mosaic must maintain the traditional values of housing associations and defend social housing. This means no sell-off of existing properties, no extension of the Right to Buy, no introduction of short-term tenancies, no further implementation of the 2016 Housing Act, no building of houses for sale and commercial rent, and no collection of data about tenants’ income or immigration status.
* Peabody and Family Mosaic must decentralise and localise housing services. Our housing associations have become too large, staff are inaccessible and their morale is low. Remote call centres and extended chains of communication should be abandoned in favour of being able to talk directly to housing and neighbourhood officers and repair teams.
* Peabody and Family Mosaic must drastically improve repairs and maintenance performance. This can be achieved by localisation, but also by ending outsourcing of contracts to commercial building companies who are themselves too large and remote.
* Peabody and Family Mosaic must maintain genuinely social rent levels for all tenants. Rents must be pegged for social tenants, as well as for key workers who are classified as ‘Intermediate Tenants’, and whose rent has been increasing each year well beyond inflation and income levels.
Peabody Family Voice, January 2018
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