A stand-off between Herefordshire Housing and an insurance company has left two houses standing empty for three years because neither party will take responsibility for the cost of repairs.

In a report compiled for the Heckler, Herefordshire Housing told us how tenants from the houses in Lloyd Street, Hereford were first moved out in 2007 because of a major subsidence issue, which is now beginning to affect the neighbouring properties.

A claim was made with their insurance company who offered £25,000 for an underpinning system. This was rejected.

What it now means is that Herefordshire Housing are refusing to pay for the repairs on their own property, whilst their insurers are refusing to cough up the full amount as well. What’s that figure we keep repeating? Five thousand people waiting for a home—get it sorted!

We first reported on the Lloyd Street properties in our last issue, encouraging people on the housing waiting list to squat them; our position being, if the housing authorities won’t find you a home, take matters into your own hands and do it yourself.

Within days, grilles were put on the doors and windows of these two houses to prevent anyone gaining entry—the first bit of work that had been done to them in years!

Despite the danger, no safety notices were displayed up on the properties. This is still the case.

We asked Herefordshire Housing what actual work had been done to the Lloyd Street properties over the course of the three years and when proper repair work was due to start. They failed to answer.

And keeping schtum seems to be the order of the day: we also contacted Herefordshire Council to ask why another empty house we featured in our last issue in Quicksets, Redhill, has also been left standing empty and in a terrible state of disrepair for years. They refused to comment.

So let’s repeat it again: there’s thousands on the housing waiting list! There’s people in temporary accommodation waiting for somewhere permanent. There’s people who aren’t even allowed temporary accommodation because housing officers tell them they’re not entitled to social housing. There’s people who are literally homeless! And all this while landlords like Herefordshire Housing are too stubborn to pay for the repairs themselves. 

What we urgently need is housing to be controlled by the tenants, for the tenants. Kick out the incompetent bosses on their fancy salaries, we can do a better job ourselves.

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