Victory as Haringey tenants keep permanent tenancies


from Paul Burnham, Secretary of Haringey Defend Council Housing


Haringey Council’s Cabinet is set to agree tonight (14.10.14) that future Haringey Council tenants will continue to be offered permanent (lifetime) tenancies.

This is a tremendous victory for tenants who have bitterly opposed proposals by Cllr Alan Strickland (Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration) for new council tenancies of five years only, with options for renewal, but without any appeals procedure.

It is also a victory for those Councillors who have blocked and criticised Cllr Strickland’s plans. They know who they are. Thanks are due to everybody who spoke out, and helped to secure this decision.

However, the Tenancy Strategy which the Cabinet will consider this evening fails to protect future Housing Association tenants, who will be offered “flexible” five-year tenancies at up to double the council rent. We need permanent tenancies, to promote social equality, inclusion, local integration, and family security. But not just for council tenants; it is unacceptable that this security and real affordablilty should be denied to future housing association tenants. This is a recipe for poverty and social exclusion.

Instead, the Tenancy Strategy should require local housing associations to award permanent tenancies, as the council will continue to do, at the same Target Rents (35%-40% of market rents), which the council uses.

The Council’s failure to defend the rights of future housing association tenants is a warning to people on the many council estates that Haringey plans to demolish and replace with housing association developments (Love Lane, Turner Avenue, Helston Court/Braemar Road, Larkspur Close, Park Grove/Durnsford Road, Tunnel Gardens; more than 1,000 homes at Northumberland Park, etc.) It is also a warning to those estates set for transfer (by sale or gift) to housing associations (such as Imperial Wharf and Noel Park).

The Tenancy Strategy document warns tenants of a grim future, under the Council’s housing demolition and gentrification plans.

Instead, we need more and better council housing. Tonight’s decision to continue to issue new permanent tenancies, albeit to council tenants only, shows us that we can win.

Cllr Strickland should now resign. He promoted five-year tenancies as a keynote policy. He has failed to convince either tenants or his Labour Group colleagues of the case for ending permanent dwelling rights for council tenants, and his present proposals are divisive, and neglectful of the rights of future housing association tenants.