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against-riverside4 _250

STARC – Social Tenants And Residents Community
1-5 Pudding Lane
ME14 1FN
29 April 2016




Helen Grant MP
Maidstone East Station Forecourt
Station Road
Maidstone, KENT
ME14 1QN

Dear Helen Grant MP

I write as Secretary of STARC a constituted social tenants group for 26 of your constituents at Pudding Lane Maidstone requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the following.

We have been issued with no fault eviction notices by Riverside Housing Association, the same Riverside Housing Association who now manage your childhood home on the Raffles council estate in Carlisle and the same Riverside your colleagues have chosen to pilot the right to buy policy for housing association tenants as part of the Housing and Planning Bill shortly to receive Royal Assent.

Many of us have lived here over 6 years and we face no prospect of ever again living in social housing in the area. We can never meet the 10 year social tenure criteria and take up the right to buy that your party seeks for aspiring and hardworking tenants.

No social landlord will accept us even if a social property becomes available locally as we could take up the RTB option in just over three years and so we maintain strongly that no social landlord would allocate any of us a social housing property for this reason.

We currently pay a rent that is over 25% more than a Riverside tenant pays in Islington or Kensington & Chelsea in central London yet once we are evicted Riverside will increase the rent level here by a further 21% and that is why we maintain Riverside wants to evict all current tenants.

Many of us are working in essential services such as the NHS and other public services. We are not the stereotypical “Benefit Street” social tenants but precisely the aspiring and hardworking social tenants your party’s policy seeks to attract with the right to buy and a range of other home ownership products you have released.

Yet the reality we as your constituents face is very different. Riverside also refuses to conduct repairs and have longstanding tenants fearful of asking for repairs in case they are issued with no fault Section 21 eviction notices.

Seven of your 26 constituents have been issued with Section 21 eviction notices as Riverside maintains the tenure here is an assured shorthold tenancy and these notices expire in May 2016.

Riverside initially said these 7 tenants had to be evicted in order to carry out roof repairs and ordinarily a social landlord decants social tenants and moves them back in after repair works are completed.

This past week Riverside has started some of the roof repairs and with the tenants in situ and so they have misled tenants and are practising housing management by fear and deceit and all by their own hand as all the above has full documentary proof to confirm.

You will recall late last year that two windows simply fell out onto Maidstone High Street narrowly missing members of the public which made the ITV News. That is our building and our homes and there is much more and much worse disrepair in this building than the communal windows being unsafe.

We seek a meeting at your earliest convenience and given the above detail as to how this interacts with the government’s prime housing policies we have also copied this in to the housing minister Brandon Lewis and to the Secretary of State at CLG Greg Clark.

Yours sincerely

STARC – Social Tenants And Residents Community
Tel:xxxx xxxxx

Cc: Brandon Lewis, Housing Minister
Greg Clark, Secretary of State CLG