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Housing bosses take tough stand against messy tenants
HOUSING bosses in York have launched a crackdown on messy council tenants who they say are putting people’s safety at risk.
Residents who leave property in hallways and corridors could now have it confiscated and may have to pay to get it back, because it is deemed a fire hazard.
City of York Council says it began advising flats tenants two and a half years ago that they must keep communal areas clear of items such as bikes, pushchairs and prams, but some tenants are still ignoring the warnings.
Denis Southall, the authority’s housing landlord service manager, said: “Because a minority are still leaving possessions in hallways or corridors, this month we have launched a formal, targeted process to improve tenant safety, which is a priority for the council.
“Staff are now inspecting blocks quarterly and, if belongings are found in communal areas, tenants in the block are sent a written request to remove them within a reasonable set time period. If the items have still not been removed, they will be removed by the council.”
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service told the council in June 2010 and again in December 2011 that all communal areas in its properties should be kept clear of belongings, in case a fire broke out and buildings needed to be evacuated.
Mr Southall said this guidance was issued to tenants but some were ignoring it.
He said tenants would be told in advance which day their property would be taken away and the charge would depend on the size and number of the items.
The property will be “stored securely” and tenants will have one chance to collect it, but if it has not been claimed after 28 days, it will be disposed of.
Mr Southall said the council would let tenants know what was happening with their belongings at each stage if the removal policy has to be enforced.
Anybody wanting to raise queries about the process should phone their housing estate manager on 01904 551550 and press option four and then option two.