Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Calling the housing association

When the lift breaks down I call the council. I say that there are pensioners at the top, one of whom is in a wheel chair. I ask them to sort it out.

In the letter that came from the council this morning, the Acting Assistant Director (needs and access) wrote that the council wasn't aware of any previous complaints about the lift and because I'm a housed by Pathmeads, a housing association, it is up to Pathmeads to 'take the necessary action' when the lift breaks down. (I'm actually housed by Camden into a housing association flat and that agreement collapses next year. I should be Camden's responsibility)

The letter goes on to say that next time the lift breaks down to contact Pathmeads directly "so they can take prompt action to remedy the situation."

Pathmeads won't take responsibility. The council knows this and the Acting Assistant Director is simply giving an inadequate and misinformed response to fobb me off. To prove Pathmead's won't take responsibility so I can tell the council in my response, I phone the housing association. This call is not free.

Press 1 on your keypad for repair issues
Press 2 on your keypad for housing issues

Sorry to keep you waiting. All agents are busy. Please hold and your call will be dealt with as soon as possible.

La li la li laa la li laaaa music, you know, you've been on hold before.
You are 6th in the queue la li la li laaaaaaaa, 5th, la li laaa 4th ,3rd,2nd, First
First!! La li la li laaaaaaaaaaaaa, li laaaaaa, li laaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Please leave your name, number and message after the tone. Boooooooooooooooooooooooop.

Fuck them fuck them AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRGH. Thank god my son's in school. That's nothing short of theft, of my money. I leave my name and tossing number.

I go to Camden. Buy a book for his friend whose birthday party it is tomorrow (alas Woolworth's why did you go?)
Come home. Try again. Successful this time.

Guess what? Pathmeads won't come and repair the lift. "We wouldn't be responsible for fixing that," says the girl. It feels like such a pointless phonecall, but it's what I need to hear.

I ask her how many of us have this lease agreement between them and the council in my block. She says there are two. There are over 50 flats in my block, private and council owned.

She is a nice girl. She's going to ask the housing officer how many lease agreements the housing association has with Camden so I will know how many households are affected next year when the arrangements all collapse. At the weekend, a girl from the council said there are 30 of us. "Only 30?" I said (quite surprised as we wouldn't be many to rehouse permanently).

Anyway, now I have the quote from the housing association, I can write back to the council.
Don't you wish you had my life?

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