Our Social Landlord, The Guinness Partnership, has decided to remove the community alarm systems from all its' Sheltered Housing properties throughout England, and de-classifying them as Adult Living. They say the alarm systems are outdated and newer, more efficient technology is now available.
We, the tenants of our Sheltered Scheme agree there are better systems available, but we maintain that the alarm system is part of the fixtures and fittings, and is the responsibility of Guinness to replace. A block of flats and 12 bungalows make up our scheme and all these buildings were purpose built for Sheltered Housing and the alarm systems were installed at the time of construction, making the systems part of the fixtures and fittings.
Each tenant is being asked to sign a 'Variation of Tenancy Agreement' so the alarm systems can be removed from their properties and also a 'Disclaimer' saying that Guinness will no longer be responsible for the 'maintenance or replacement' of the alarm system.
As you can imagine, this has caused great worry and distress among the residents of the scheme, and some people have signed these papers without knowing exactly what it is they are signing, or the implications of signing.
Guinness say we are not Sheltered Housing, but we are housing for Older persons or Adult Living and always have been. We maintain we are, and always have been, Sheltered Housing, and my tenancy clearly states - 1 bedroom Sheltered Bungalow, and the properties are advertised as Sheltered Housing, whether it's a flat or a bungalow.
Sheltered Housing means that there are additional services being provided, as stated on the Guinness website, but by de-classifying the properties the additional services do not have to be provided.
There has been no discussion over the changes, even though the Guinness terms and conditions clearly state they will consult with residents over any major changes to tenancy or property. The first response I received to the complaint I sent in to Guinness over these changes, clearly stated that there was 'no change to the tenancy'. In that case, why are residents being 'asked' to sign a 'Variation of Tenancy Agreement'?
All the details have now been forwarded to the Housing Ombudsman for their ruling.
The services which were provided at the time we signed our Tenancies are gradually being taken away. These services were part of the tenancies and should not have been removed. We lost our Warden/Scheme Manager in 2012 when Hampshire County Council stopped the funding grant for Supporting People Services. However, up until that time, a ruling was in force (I can't find out who made this ruling) which meant all the tenants of the Scheme paid a fixed sum each month for the services of Guinness Care and Support, whether they needed their services or not, even though Guinness Care and Support were also receiving a grant for these services from HCC as well. At the time they said that they couldn't ask one tenant to pay this sum and not another because of the alarm system being in place. However, all they had to do was literally remove the cords in each property and this would mean the alarm couldn't be used, but it didn't disrupt the alarm system.
The alarm system is part of the fixtures and fittings and should be replaced/updated by the Guinness Partnership Ltd; we are definitely Sheltered Housing and wish to stay Sheltered Housing; as part of the fixtures and fittings we shouldn't be made to pay any extra for the alarm systems because this is included in the overall rent for the property.
Guinness say they will no longer be responsible for anything to do with the alarm systems, but one of the service providers they are suggesting is Guinness Care and Support!
Is there anyone else who has been affected by these changes?
youngagain Thu 23-Mar-17 14:12:33
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NfkDumpling Fri 24-Mar-17 09:44:59
youngagain Fri 24-Mar-17 10:04:04
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NfkDumpling Fri 24-Mar-17 19:21:49
youngagain Fri 24-Mar-17 20:50:49
Badenkate Sat 25-Mar-17 08:55:43
trisher Sat 25-Mar-17 10:17:08
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trisher Sat 25-Mar-17 11:42:54
Badenkate Sat 25-Mar-17 12:22:52
trisher Sat 25-Mar-17 14:39:20
NfkDumpling Sat 25-Mar-17 17:20:33
Badenkate Sat 25-Mar-17 18:32:46
durhamjen Sat 25-Mar-17 22:39:47
youngagain Sat 25-Mar-17 22:44:47
trisher Sun 26-Mar-17 09:37:03
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trisher Sun 26-Mar-17 11:49:05