Council's rent warning Christmas card disgusts tenants
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Housing
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has been slammed after sending its tenants reminders to pay their rent in the guise of a Christmas card.
The 'seasonal greeting card' - which reads "Don't overindulge this Christmas. Pay your rent!" - has been condemned as "disgusting" by residents.
The council says that nearly 50% of its tenants are in rent arrears and the cards are part of a "hard-hitting" campaign, the BBC reported.
Councillor Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: "We want to do everything we can to stop tenants getting into rent arrears.
"It's a very serious issue and the real issue of this double-sided postcard was to say if you are in difficulty give us a call.
"It would give me no pleasure to evict people in the new year because they're behind on their rent."
However, Tina Buckley, who has lived with her mother Mary in their council property for 25 years told a BBC London radio show that they had never been behind with their rent, and has demanded that the council prints an apology for the card. Tina said: "What's made me so angry is my mum's been a tenant for 60 years.
"She's never been behind with her rent and when we were young and there wasn't much money she'd pay her rent before she'd feed us and clothe us and heat the house.
"Keeping the roof over our head was more important than anything else so to get this disgusting, threatening piece of literature masquerading as a Christmas greeting, it's insulting."
Cllr Johnson said the card cost £2,000 to produce and was sent to about 17,000 properties.
He added: "I think we've got to take all reasonable steps possible to make sure people pay their rent."