Community organisers based at High Trees recently contacted us to ask us to assist residents of St Martin’s Estate in taking on the three housing associations that own the estate over refunds for water bill collections they made in previous decades. A High Court ruling in October 2020 ruled that social housing tenants were to be refunded service charges for water bills collected on behalf of Thames Water since 2001.
Lambeth Council began the process of refunding its tenants earlier this year, with some residents seeing large refunds of over £1000. However, the local housing associations had refused to act to support residents in the same way. Mary wrote to the housing associations on behalf of the Tulse Hill Councillors and the tenants group that she met with to put pressure on the landlords to set up a refund scheme.
We are pleased that the housing associations have listened to our arguments and confirmed that they are now in the process of finalising a scheme to help refund residents (Metropolitan Housing Association’s scheme can be viewed here). However, we will continue to be supporting residents to ensure that the scheme is comprehensive enough and like Lambeth Council’s scheme, provides residents with appropriate compensation.
In addition, Ben has been working with elderly residents on the Tulse Hill Estate to lower their individual water bills. You can find out if you are eligibile to access the Thames Water WaterHelp and WaterSure schemes here. You may have also seen communications from Thames Water that they will soon be moving our area to using smart meters and we will keep you informed of any additional works they notify us about.