At least one former resident of Grenfell Tower, who had been evacuated after the fire disaster two weeks ago, says she is still being charged rent on the burnt-out flat in London
A campaign director representing survivors of the fire said on Saturday a resident found out earlier this week that she has been charged for rent on a property from which she was evacuated along with hundreds of others in the surrounding buildings, when fire engulfed the 24-story building in west London on June 14.
“I had someone come to me yesterday saying they’d just got their bank card and things back, and seen that their rent has been deducted,” said Yvette Williams, coordinator of Justice4Grenfell campaign group.
It is not known how many other former residents have also had rent deducted for their homes.
“I don’t know how many but I would imagine all the people who have been evacuated are still being charged,” said Sue Caro, another member of Justice4Grenfell. “I have heard the same complaint a few days ago from someone else.”
She further said that people are concerned if they stop paying rent they will lose their tenancy. “This is just another area of stress people do not need at this time. The council are just performing appallingly.”
People rally for “Justice for Grenfell Tower” in London on June 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Conservative councilor Catherine Faulks however branded the rent incident as “very tiny,” before tracking back on her words.
“Oh come on, that’s a tiny thing — I mean it’s not a tiny thing for them it’s a huge thing and it’s very upsetting,” she said.
Kensington and Chelsea council is under fire for mishandling of the response to the fire disaster which claimed the lives of at least 80 people.
The Conservative head of the council Nicholas Paget-Brown resigned on Friday, saying he accepted a “share of responsibility” for the “perceived failings.” He became the focus of protests over the council’s actions before and after the deadly blaze.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was backed by Labour Party, urged Prime Minister Theresa May to appoint commissioners to run the local government.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan leaves St Clement’s church in Notting Hill, west London, on June 18, 2017, close to Grenfell Tower, after attending a Sunday service. (Photo by AFP)
Khan wrote a letter to May on Friday in which he asked her to take the unusual step, because the elected Kensington and Chelsea Council has “lost the trust of local residents.”
He said since London residents “feel desperately neglected,” the government must appoint “untainted” commissioners with “a genuine empathy for local people and the situation they face.”
Government rejects request to replace local authority
The May government however rejected to appoint commissioners to run the local government, saying this was not the time for the central government to get directly involved.
“It is right the council leader stepped down given the initial response to the Grenfell tragedy,” British Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement on Saturday.
“The process to select his successor will be independent of government, but we will be keeping a close eye on the situation. If we need to take further action, we won’t hesitate to do so,” he added.