Letter: Stuck with my spare bedrooms

One reader shares her situation as a single women in a three bed property, not able to exchange due to the damp conditions.

Damp housing conditions

Following previous OnTheWight discussions over what has been dubbed the ‘Spare Bedroom Tax’, one reader who seems to be stuck in a rut with social housing gets in touch to share her story. Ed


Dear Editor

I would like to bring to yours and everyone’s attention, the situation as I see it.

I am in favour of living in a suitable sized property, be in it social or the private sector, all be it within the realms of an appropriate time scale to complete.

My ongoing situation is I’m a single lady in a three bedroom house owned by Spectrum/Medina Housing.

Although I’ve being allowed to join the exchange register, I’m unable to offer a mutual exchange, because the house I’m occupying has extreme damp and sinking flooring on the ground floor.

Ground floor not habitable
As a direct consequence of this my furniture has had to be disposed of. I now have no sofa, no chairs, no cupboards or table. It is not habitable downstairs.

Funding has been allocated since 2004 and I’ve been packed since 2008.

It seems to me that Medina Spectrum are wasting money, hand over foot, yet still no smaller property in any location has been offered to me.

My understanding is that they knew about the issue when they purchased the house but did not resolve it before offering it to me as a home!

Who’s regulating the housing associations?
The point being, the control is with the housing, yet nobody is enforcing them as a body to resolve this situation.

This is a very raw issue with many, especially those living in overcrowded properties.

I have not called it home since I moved here and really have no desire to stay.

Is my story unique? Well yes and if you are interested please get in touch by emailing me nommy5@hotmail.co.uk

Damp housing conditions

Damp housing conditions

damp-housing-nommy-bedroom

Thursday, 28th February, 2013 2:06pm

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6 Comments

  1. Bystander's comment is rated +4 Vote +1 Vote -1

    28.Feb.2013 4:46pm

    “Spectrum Medina operates on the Isle of Wight and aims to provide excellent housing services, support and assistance to local households.”

    From the Home page of the Spectrum Medina website.

    Whats the betting this lady’s ordeal is rapidly remedied after this expose? But questions will remain as to what has been happening for the last 5 years given Spectrum Medina’s stated aims.

    Reply
  2. Tina (Spectrum)'s comment is rated +3 Vote +1 Vote -1

    1.Mar.2013 4:18pm

    As the report was anonymous we cannot be sure who the resident in this case is and we would urge them to make contact with us. We would in such circumstances do all we could to deal with the problem as quickly as possible. A Surveyor and a Housing Officer could visit in the coming week to assess the problem and plan how we should deal with the disrepair, working every step of the way with the resident in this home to deal with the problems and with the possibilities of a move to more suitable accommodation. That of course may be constrained by significant shortage of good quality affordable housing and the rules of Choice Based Lettings system operating on the Island.

    The article implies though that contact has already been established. Without the name and address of the resident and only internal photos of the home it is difficult to check what action has already been taken. If that is the case I am sure significant efforts will have been made to help the resident deal with the conditions in her home and to look at what options there are for her with support from ourselves to move to better quality and more suitable accommodation.

    We remain proud of the service we provide and the vast majority of residents tell us they are very satisfied with the job we do! Clearly, all organisations can sometimes make mistakes and if that is the case here we will apologise and do what we can to put things right. The first step though is for the resident to contact us and we will do all we can to help.

    Reply
  3. nonny's comment is rated +5 Vote +1 Vote -1

    1.Mar.2013 5:18pm

    In response,
    You do not seem aware of this property, it begs the question,’how many properties in ryde have this ongoing problem with sinking flooring?9 years ago Mr G Scott as far as we are aware did the first survey and allocated the funding.
    No doubt as usual the owness will be turned on the tennant.
    what a state, I am sure there are more cases like this, as the emails received show.

    Reply
  4. Rowan's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

    4.Mar.2013 12:15pm

    We need council housing back, and price and quality controls on private renting – and price controls on housing full-stop.

    There’s something wrong with house prices when somebody can work full-time all their lives and still not have enough money to buy their own home.

    Reply
  5. Robert Jones's comment not rated yet. Add your vote Vote +1 Vote -1

    4.Mar.2013 1:50pm

    Housing Associations ARE regulated. You need to go back to the Association to find out what is, or isn’t, going on; in the unlikely event you get no response or an unsatisfactory one, I always found the best bet was to write to the chairman (of Spectrum, in this case) with a copy to the chief exec. I was the chairman of Medina HA some years ago – chairmen don’t like getting complaints, it suggests that someone hasn’t been doing their job properly; and any good chairman, such as I believe Spectrum has, will raise a stink until something is done.

    You shouldn’t need to go to those lengths, however: get back on to Lugley House and arrange for a visit and survey. I know you’ve done that, but it looks as though it was a while ago – do it again.

    And Rowan – we have no council housing on the island any more, because Medina and South Wight Borough Councils flogged it to housing associations, whose rents are controlled and which have to meet quality standards. I agree with the points you make about private renting; and of course house prices for purchase are as they are because people started using houses as investments rather than just as a roof over their heads – the term “housing ladder” gives it all away. We need to undo the policies of the last 50 years or so, and devise a housing strategy for this country: at present, the only housing strategy governments have got is to get the hell out of housing… just as Medina and South Wight Borough Councils did back in 1989…

    Reply

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