Pet plan insulting to council tenants

It is almost comic timing that, as Islington sets up a Fairness Commission and the executive member for housing agrees to look at double-charging of council tenants and leaseholders, I, and every other council tenant received a condescending and patronising letter from LBI’s service director for housing, proposing what he refers to as improvements to council tenancy agreements.

Most are reasonable, but one proposed “improvement” which, whether obvious or not, is an utter insult to council tenants – council tenants (alone) will only be able to keep a pet with express permission of the council.

This proposed improvement would only serve to further stigmatise council tenants implying that they are the only irresponsible pet owners (dogs being the emotive example used) and extend the unfairness of double charging council tenants.

Will this requirement also apply to council leaseholders (none of whom I’ve spoken to have received any consultation)? And, aren’t there relevant provisions under legislation or regulations that apply to private homeowners?

Of course there are. Who pays for enforcement of these regulations – everybody who pays Council Tax and that includes council tenants like me.

Now, it seems, the council is proposing to push yet another general service onto the burden of the Housing Revenue Account (tenants’ rent). Instead of the borough’s Animal Welfare Service dealing with such issues, when originating from council tenanted properties, it will be dealt with under the “improvements” to tenancy agreements.

I somehow doubt that I will be getting a pro-rata reduction on my Council Tax, but my rent, instead of contributing to repairs and maintenance, will be doing a job for which I already pay the council.

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It’s an affront to fairness itself and shame on hypocritical Islington Council if they allow it. The consultation ends on October 25 – can we have the views of the Federation of Islington Tenants’ Associations on this matter please? I urge all self-respecting council tenants and tenant representatives to resolutely reject this insulting proposal. Council tenants are not second class citizens.

– Thomas Cooper, Islington council tenant, N5.