Protestor delivers 'bedroom tax disclaimer' to One Vision
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
One vision protest
One Vision Housing has told bedroom tax protestors that it understands their anger at the government's new under-occupancy rules.
A One Vision spokesperson said: “We fully understand that people are worried about the challenges welfare reform poses and want to voice their concern."
The housing association spoke out after a protestor hand-delivered a 'bedroom tax disclaimer' to the head offices of One Vision yesterday.
The protest letter was created in response to a document sent out by One Vision to tenants, which explained the bedroom tax and asked them to sign that they understood the forthcoming policy.
West Lancashire Borough Council Councillor Neil Furey has been at the head of protests against the bedroom tax and against One Vision in the last few weeks.
The letter, addressed to One Vision's income manager, reads:
"I, the Income Manager at One Vision Housing, deeply regret the distress caused from issuing under occupation disclaimer notices to tenants affected by the Bedroom Tax here in Sefton.
I therefore agree to undertake the following action(s):-
-Apologise for ordering the issue of Under Occupation disclaimer notices to tenants
-Withdraw with immediate effect the issue of Under Occupation disclaimer notices
-To take NO legal action with tenants who have signed a disclaimer notice
-Destroy every Under Occupation disclaimer notice held by the Organisation
-Not to sanction evictions for tenants unfairly hit by a Bedroom Tax
-Rule out the use of ‘Ground 8’ fast-track evictions for rent arrears
-Listen to tenants individual circumstances and recognise proven hardship
-Create a hardship fund which offers direct financial support for tenants who simply cannot afford to pay
-Sanction reclassification of homes as necessary in order to protect tenants from a Bedroom Tax
-Listen to and engage with Bedroom Tax activists
-Join and Support local activists who are standing-up to this Government and its hated Bedroom Tax
-Lobby Government at the highest level to axe the Bedroom Tax."
Cllr Furey reported that shortly after arriving at One Vision's offices yesterday to deliver the letter, security guards demanded that he left immediately or the police would be called.
Cllr Furey said: “It was completely wrong of One Vision Housing to ask tenants to sign a disclaimer and there was no need to issue one in the first place.
"Clearly, One Vision Housing’s motive was to prepare this document in readiness for use in rent arrears possession cases in front of a judge at the County Court. Their primary aim was to protect their income and force tenants into agreeing that One Vision Housing could go ahead and take legal action with their permission and understanding.
“The security guards explained that they were asking me to leave because they had been ordered to do so by their boss.
"Unfortunately, nobody at One Vision Housing was prepared to speak with me about the plight of tenants affected by a bedroom tax.”
One Vision's spokesperson said: “As this particular protest took place before 8am there was no one actually in the office available to speak to Cllr Furey. We would welcome the chance to speak directly to him or anyone who has concerns and have offered previously to meet with him and explain everything that we are doing to support our customers through these reforms
“It should be understood however, that this is a change to benefit legislation - not housing legislation. We too, have lobbied against the proposals.
“As a result, we are communicating with our tenants to ensure that they understand the implications and how we can work with them to mitigate the impact of the changes.”