Members of Living Rent descended on the Council North Office in West Pilton on 5th of March to demand action on housing problems in the Muirhouse high rises. The main issues highlighted were: dysfunction-ing lifts, leaking roofs, ongoing lack of repairs despite critical issues, and lack of clean up in communal areas. The main manager George Norval came out of a meeting to meet the residents and promised to act on the serious situations they outlined.
The Living Rent members stressed that residents are regularly trapped in their flats due to the frequent failings of the lifts in 14 storey Birnies Court. One lift hasn’t worked for months and the other frequently fails. This especially hits residents with children, the elderly, and disabled.
A resident commented: "Since their long drawn-out installation both new lifts have been problematic, frequently trapping tenants inside or just breaking down. On a few occasions both lifts have conked out simultaneously, leaving tenants to climb the stairs."
The Inchmickery Court roof has been leaking for years. Several residents have had to be decanted due to the uninhabitable state of their flats. “Tenants need to know what the Council plans to do to fix the roof properly”, stressed Living Rent, also emphasising tenants’ concern that the build-up of water in roof guttering presented a potentially serious safety problem.
“Tenants with serious dampness problems are being told they will have to wait two months for work to start. This delay is unacceptable,” Living Rent told Mr Norval, citing the case of a tenant in Fidra Court. The CEC manager agreed this delay was too long and promised to act to speed things up.
Since the Living Rent tenants campaign started the Council have announced major refurbishment works in the Muirhouse high rises. They promise significant insulation work in May and Gunnet Courts this year. But when will similar work be carried out in the other two deck access high rises, Oxcars and Inchmickery, which are equally badly affected by dampness? Mr Norval promised to chase up the delayed report on this, and to find out when repairs would be carried out to the Birnies lifts and the Inchmickery roof.
Living Rent stated: “We are meeting Mr Norval again on 14 March and need answers to these issues. Otherwise tenants will have no option but to step up our actions to insist on safe healthy homes for all.”