Protesters unhappy with how a London housing association treated one of its tenants are to stage a protest outside its head office tomorrow (June 1).
They are unhappy with how the not-for-profit organisation treated Daniel Fisha, 23, after his mother, who held the tenancy on their Bow flat, died.
Fisha says Clarion passed the tenancy of their home on to his father, despite his father suffering from poor mental health, and cancer, and agreeing that his son should be granted the tenancy – a process called succession.
Clarion, a housing association which provides affordable housing and supports their residents, have said they were not aware that the family wished for Fisha to take on the tenancy and that it was not in their policy to provide a further succession that would enable him to do that.
LRU targetted Clarion during in a social media blockade saying they “will escalate if they [clarion] continue to ignore our members. This treatment by a supposedly charitable housing association really makes clear the shameful erosion of ‘renters’ rights in this country. All we have is each other!”
Fisha, who has lived in the property since 1998 and studies contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory at King’s College London, said the dispute against Clarion had affected the grieving for his mother. He said: “We were alone, we were isolated…My dad’s… and my mental health have both taken a massive toll …just from grieving but also dealing with the careless landlord.”
Fisha claims that after his mother’s unexpected death in 2019, despite asking on numerous occasions for him to inherit the property in Bow due to his dad being in remission from cancer and suffering from poor mental health, Clarion refused to allow Fisha to succeed the tenancy.
A spokes person from Clarion Housing Group told Eastlondonlines:
“There is a severe shortage of affordable housing in the country, with over a million people on the social housing waiting list. As a consequence, it is the responsibility of local authorities and housing associations to ensure that social homes are always let to those in the greatest need.
“Our decision to grant the tenancy to Mr Warden aligns to legislation, the tenancy and our policies. Mr Warden now has a lifelong tenancy with Clarion on this property, providing security for him and his adult son, Mr Fisher.
“When Mr Warden’s tenure ultimately comes to an end, Clarion will consider a succession request from Mr Fisher. That request will be considered against our policies at the time and according to housing need in the local community.”
Fisha responded, to Clarion’s comment saying the reason he hadn’t succeeded was down to their mishandling of the situation.
He said: “Clarion’s statement reeks of dishonesty. My mothers tenancy agreement clearly states that I have the right to succeed the tenancy, and Clarion know this; the only reason that I haven’t succeeded is because Clarion mishandled the succession process entirely and have continued to put me and my dad through 20+ months of unnecessary stress.
“And the fact that one of the largest landlords in the country has the gall to complain about a housing crisis beggars belief! They’re clearly one of the largest hoarders of property in the UK.
“Clarion have made it clear that if [in the hopefully distant future], my dad were to pass away, I don’t have security as a tenant…I’ll have no parents and I’ll also have no housing potentially.”
In their last correspondence in April, Steve Moody, head of Customer accounts at Clarion, told Fisha: “The decision to grant the tenancy to Mr Warden aligns to legislation, the tenancy and our policies. I do accept that there were some failings in the initial management of the succession, namely that we failed to keep Mr Warden fully informed, manage expectations correctly and provide responses in a timely manner.”
Clarion claim Fisha and his family failed to inform the housing association of their changed intentions. However, Fisha denies this. He said: “Over multiple phone conversations, we made it clear, and in person conversations with current employees.. that me and my dad [were] in agreement that I should succeed the property because I’m going to be living here looking after [him] for the foreseeable future anyway.
Under Clarions Succession policy only one individual can succeed and if that has already taken place, no one else can succeed – therefore, Fisha can no longer take over his father’s tenancy.
However, Fisher claimed that his mother’s tenancy agreement stated he has the right to succeed if he and his father were in agreement, but he says that Clarion had not acknowledged this.
The pair have also received legal advice which Fisha claims argued that Clarion had discretion to provide a second succession given they have mishandled the process from the start.
Fisha also alleges Clarion, the largest housing association in UK, failed on numerous occasions to maintain the property and provide repairs. Fisha claimed that mould and broken windows within the property have been left for years despite the family notifying the landlord.
He said: “We’ve had an independent surveyor in… and they said…. that there is significant disrepair in the property, mainly related to the windows in the house. Basically, there’s not a window in this house that is suitable…My bedroom window is glued together and has rotted away over years of disrepair and the back unit of the house is also pretty hazardous, because it’s rotting away the wood is completely.”
The family joined London Renters Union for support. Fisha said their support made him feel it was possible to make Clarion accountable for their actions.
He said: “That’s what’s so great about being an unionised tenant, being in London Renters Union…I’m no longer a victim, I’m empowered, I’m able to organise with other tenants in similar situations who have different knowledge. We are able to do things like a social media blockade.”
The campaign organised a social media blockade in March, publicly calling out Clarion and making their demands clear.
Fisha said he hoped all his and the union’s effort and Tuesday’s protest would pay off. Fisha said: “[We want to] show Clarion that we’re not the isolated and vulnerable tenants that they’ve been treating with disrespect. That’s what we have been, and now we’re organising to get our voices heard and to let people know this so-called social landlord are acting very anti socially…a charity, who seems to be threatening pensioners with homelessness in a pandemic.”