Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Hi all,

I'm new to HoL, sorry to start off with a moan, but I wondered if anyone could offer some advice...

We're on Wightman rd, next to a house converted into 6 bedsits. Lovely landlords have failed to make any space for wheelie bins, so they just have the one, and a giant hedge behind which crap accumulates. Not much cop for potentially 12 people.

Earlier in the summer, with the addition of most of a divan, an impressive crap mountain appeared behind the hedge. I spoke to the council and they got it sorted. But since then, the wheelie has moved to the pavement (I think there's a couple with a baby, they're probably having trouble getting round the bin) and crap mountain has re-formed around it.

The torn bags (thanks various two and four legged scavengers) get re-bagged so someone cares a bit. The mountain gets cleared occasionally, but is back quickly and the present mess has been there for what seems like ages. It's depressing to see every day (and smell) and there's also the mice which keep eating their way into my flat.

There is a high turnover of tenants, they aren't particularly friendly and the landlord is clearly doing the absolute minimum possible. I am unsure what the council can do, as essentially the problem is a combination of none of the tenants having the capability/urge to deal with recycling and insufficient storage for the amount of refuse. They've said they can't make the landlord make space for more bins and I don't think a leaflet on collection days is going to sort it.

So, what can I do? Anything? Suggestions most welcome...

Thank you

Polly

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Sorry, I am editing this - it wasn't a rhetorical question but seems like it's not possible to get a serious answer on here some times.

Our friend Julie Davies who also lives in St Ann's ward, emailed all three of her ward councillors during the recent hot weather, when her own and other food waste bins along her street hadn't been collected for nearly two weeks. She had complained to Veolia without getting anywhere. Their explanation was that they were having problems with the waste vehicles. 

Julie emailed her three councillors one baking Sunday morning when the flies, maggots and stench were overwhelming. Around the same time Julie had also reported various problems in her own street and and streets nearby - including dumped rubbish, a missing no-entry street sign, and an HMO (homes in multiple occupation) which appeared to be adding an additional storey without planning permission.

After several reminders the only ward councillor who replied giving a report on the actions he'd taken, was Cllr Peter Morton.

Obviously a sample of one is entirely unscientific. But I'd advise emailing Cllr Peter Morton (peter.morton@haringey.gov.uk) copying-in the "cabinet" councillor for the environment, Stuart McNamara (stuart.mcnamara@haringey.gov.uk ). And adding the other two ward councillors if you so wish.

You don't say which streets are the problem, but there are a number of well-known hot-spots for dumping in St Ann's ward. And various local residents' associations/activists have been nagging away about them. It's definitely worth linking-up with other residents to share the work of putting on pressure. Haringey is a failing council and - as the saying goes - only squeaky wheels stand a chance of getting any grease.

Update on next door - it's all gone very dramatic. A new tenant moved in downstairs about 2 months ago, quickly realised what a pickle the place was in, got no joy with the landlord and started on an escalating process of complaint, ending with an environmental health inspection and the fire brigade declaring the place unfit for habitation. Apparently there are all sorts of problems:

- Numerous water leaks which have been going on for years, they've just been papering and painting over the wet

- A serious rodent infestation

- Unsafe wiring (extra unsafe with all the water - they've been told there's 'risk of explosion')

- An illegal extension at the rear, built with a single layer of bricks, thus totally uninsulated and now liable to fall down any minute as it's all sopping wet

- Continued non-payment of water, gas and electric by the landlord, despite having collected the money from the tenants

Apparently the landlord owns six properties and drives a Porsche but doesn't have the money to make the building safe or habitable. The tenants have been told to move out tomorrow but as they're there via the council and there's nothing available so they've been told to sit tight indefinitely. There's been some implication that the landlord has a couple of friends on the council, who have been keeping her out of trouble up until now.

*CAVEAT* This is what I've been told by the tenants, and we've seen paperwork that seems to support the fire brigade bit, but obviously it's not first hand.  

I don't believe in prisons, but sometimes....

If the Council has done an environmental health inspection, and the fire brigade has declared the place unfit, then I would assume the Council is issuing the enforcement notices against the landlord with which she would have to comply. Of course if she doesn't, then the Council should take the landlord to court.  But as the Council has placed tenants there and presumably is paying the rent it should know the condition of the property. 

It would be worth contacting your ward councillors so they can ask the enforcement officers what exactly is going on at the address.

Your councillors are:

emine.ibrahim@haringey.gov.uk

gina.adamou@haringey.gov.uk

james.ryan@haringey.gov.uk

As you live next door I would also suggest you contact the lead officer for private sector housing since the problems you describe could impact on you. Contact steve.russell@haringey.gov.uk

Finally, you could also contact the lead councillor with responsibility for houses in multiple occupation and enforcement - ali.demirci@haringey.gov.uk. He sits in the Counicl's Cabinet. 

Good luck

Zena

_____________________

Zena Brabazon

I'm really glad someone apart from you has tried to tackle this, and that things are now happening. A bit horrified that despite all the warnings tenants have been told to stay put.

I'd love Haringey to make the sort of effort they do for parking to pursue and charge landlords like this. Outrageous. And paid for partly by Haringey money, if they've been putting tenants in the house. Don't they have to check that the house is safe?
The answer to your last question Alison, is yes. They definately have to check the dwelling before they place anyone there and there are supposed to be regular follow up inspections, both to check on the property and that the tenants they are paying for are still in residence (the rental they pay is often eye watering). It really makes one wonder.........

"... make the sort of effort they do for parking to pursue and charge landlords like this."

And the sort of money they were/are prepared to throw at lawyers to pursue and suspend Julie Davies - the NUT branch secretary - for her effective trade union work; and for expressing political opinions.

I'd guess that even before the recent two-day High Court trial, Haringey would probably have spent something like the equivalent of an enforcement officer's salary. That total has since climbed steeply.

Thanks for the update. I think the most shocking thing is that Haringey Council are putting people in places in this terrible condition. Do contact Steve Russell, he is very good. I will also make some more enquiries.

I have been in correspondence with Steve Russell today. He is aware of the property and notices have been served regarding the various issues. All the issues are currently being dealt with by the council.  I have asked to be kept in the loop and will update when I am.

Thanks Karen. The tenants invited me in to have a look, and the house clearly has some significant, long term problems but they've been well enough covered up that I'm not sure they'd be immediately obvious to someone who wasn't a resident. 

I'd like some names. Firstly, the landlord's. Please.

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