MSPs Call for GHA Review

January 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Local News

Concerned MSPs have written to the Scottish Housing Regulator to ask for an investigation into the finances of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).

Scottish National Party MSPs Sandra White, Bob Doris, Bill Kidd and Bashir Ahmad have written a joint letter to Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Housing Regulator. They are supporting a call from the Save Our Homes campaign for an investigation into the prices of an improvement programme which started in 2005 and is in its final stages now. Labour MSP Johann Lamont has written to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to seek her support for the review. Liberal Democrat MSP Robert Brown has also asked for a review of GHA’s working practices.

Said Sean Clerkin, Chair of the Save Our Homes campaign: ‘We are pleased to get this cross-party support. Our members have consistently complained of overpricing in particular on the overcladding work. We want confidence restored. The only way we believe this can be done is for the Housing Regulator to carry out a forensic financial inquiry into GHA’s tendering process.’

Slum Landlord Aslam Appeals Against Ban

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

Slum landlord Mr Mohammed Aslam from Govanhill, has submitted an appeal against his removal from the Private Landlords Register by Glasgow City Council. There will be a preliminary hearing on Thursday 13 November when a date is expected to be fixed for the full hearing.

Mr Aslam was removed from the register after his properties were found to be below the basic tolerable level. He was issued with two prohibition orders in relation to gas safety regulations, had substantial Council Tax arrears on several properties and was issued with seven abatement notices under environmental protection legislation. He was the first person in Glasgow to be issued with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) in respect of housing and he is only the second in the whole of Scotland to be issued with one since the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 was introduced in 2004.

Mr Aslam has a total of 39 properties of which 22 have tenants who are in receipt of housing benefit. However, the rights of tenants in these properties are not affected. They still have to be given proper notice in order for them to vacate the property.

Mr Aslam was issued with his ASBO on Wednesday 10 September and had 21 days to appeal against the decision.

Councillor Steven Purcell, Leader of Glasgow City Council said: ‘This is one of the first times these powers have been used in Scotland and it demonstrates the council’s commitment to tackling rogue landlords. Substantial evidence has been gathered against this landlord and I welcome the decision to refuse him a place on the Landlords Register.’

Authorities are working hard to improve Govanhill’s below tolerable housing.

Councillor Purcell saw for himself how bad the housing was in Govanhill during a recent visit. After his visit he allocated £2million of the city’s housing investment budget of £10.5 million to Govanhill. This will be used to improve the below tolerable housing in Govanhill and will be administered through the council’s Development and Regeneration Services.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government, Health and Wellbeing said: ‘Local authorities have powers under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 to deal with houses which are in a state of serious disrepair. They can do this by serving repair notices, improvement orders or designating an area as a Housing Action Area where at least 50% of the houses fail the tolerable standard.

‘These powers are being updated by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. We have already consulted on draft guidance for local authorities on implementing the new powers. The consultation closed on 1 July. The Housing Renewal areas will be introduced early next year. Local authorities receive an annual Private Sector Funding Grant allocation. It is up to them how they spend it.’

Southside Councillor James Scanlon said: ‘I am delighted that Mr Aslam has been struck off the Landlords Register. In Govanhill the Neighbourhood Management Team has been set up, which is led by Cathie Cowan, who is the Director of the South East Community Health and Care Partnership to deal with the problems facing local residents.’

Another Southside Councillor, Anne Marie Millar said: ‘The Council have taken appropriate action because Mr Aslam’s flats were totally unacceptable in this day and age. How anyone could expect others to live in these sub-standard conditions, beggars belief. I requested that they should declare Govanhill as an area of ‘Special Status.’