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Camden New Journal - Letters to the Editor
Second home rule is necessary but fair

• As Camden Council’s Executive Member for Housing, I have read all the letters about the council’s new tenancy condition on second homes.
With 15,000 households waiting for a council home, the new condition is vital.
It states that Camden’s tenants should not have another home that they could reasonably be expected to live in. The council will consider a range of issues when deciding what is reasonable.
For instance whether the tenant will be able to carry out their work from the other home, or whether it would it be impractical for them to live in because of a health problem or disability.
This new condition will not affect tenants where the home is clearly a holiday home – such as a caravan or mobile home.
It is not going to stop tenants investing in the future either. For instance it won’t affect people who buy a home shortly before their retirement to move into when they give up work.
This new rule is part of a wider review of tenancy conditions and follows a set legal process. The council has been working on them over the past year and we have already consulted with District Management Committees. In March we wrote to all tenants asking them comment on the proposals.
The final amended conditions are nearly ready. Once the District Management Committees have seen them we will notify all secure tenants of the changes in August. We will also send a booklet to help explain what the conditions mean and where to go for further advice.
Finally, some correspondents have highlighted concerns about abuses of council homes. If anyone is concerned that someone is breaking their tenancy condition, they can call 020 7974 5848 or write to Performance and Strategy, 1st floor, Bidborough House, 20 Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BF. All information will be treated confidentially.
Cllr Chris Naylor
Executive Member for Housing
Town Hall, WC1

• I relate to Winston Spencer’s suggestion (Council homes are for those who need them, June 15) that there should be a way for those who witness abuses of the system to report such abuse anonymously.
The way to solve the problem would be for the authorities to offer a one off amnesty for those who have been guilty of abusing the system in one way or another, recover the property and make sure the new tenants are deserving.
Once the deadline for an amnesty had lapsed, then they should advertise a free call number for people to report persistent other abusers.
AJ Otchere
Rhyl Street, NW5

• Your report (Repairs boss charged, June 15) of an alleged £200,000 fraud will come as no surprise to anyone who has taken an interest in the way Camden manage their council housing.
At the time of the Almo campaign I attempted to get an explanation from the council for their costings for home improvements.
The council claimed that the average cost of renovating a kitchen or bathroom would be £6,000 per room, an absurdly high figure when a single private buyer could have got the same quality of units installed for around £1,500.
Obviously for a contract for 14,000 dwellings – the number of Camden dwellings which needed renovation – the cost would have been much less per room.
Even if another £1,500 per room is allowed the discrepancy between the cost quoted and any reasonable estimate of the price was vast – a reasonable estimate would have been between £2,500-3,000 per room. Just cutting the cost of these renovations in half would have saved £84 million.
I would add that despite strenuous efforts on my part I have not been able to get a meaningful explanation of why Camden’s costings were so high.
Robert Henderson
Chalton Street, NW1

• Heather Thompson (Letters, June 15) is completely out to lunch with her human rights nonsense argument over the rights of council tenants to have second homes.
It is people like myself who pay for such abuse with our taxes whilst Thompson and the like have their piece of the cake and eat it.
Monica Crammer has got it right (Letters, June 15). All social housing properties should be charged at market price and benefit or assistance in paying the rent be evaluated independently according to tenants’ real needs.
Ron Jones
Ellerdale Road

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.


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