Muirhouse keeps lights despite landlord warning

Jeanie Gowans, Tam Thomson and Donna Pearson are unimpressed with warnings from their landlord about Christmas decorations. Picture: Scott Louden
Jeanie Gowans, Tam Thomson and Donna Pearson are unimpressed with warnings from their landlord about Christmas decorations. Picture: Scott Louden
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CHRISTMAS revellers are refusing to pull the plug on festive light displays despite a warning from their landlord.

Residents received a text message from Muirhouse Housing Association (MHA) earlier this month, threatening them with repair bills if flamboyant decorations damaged their properties.

The message sent by MHA said outdoor lights “damage the fabric of the building” and that tenants would be “asked to remove them immediately and the association will charge the tenant for the cost of making good damage to the property”.

None of the decorations have been removed since the demand was made on Saturday, December 6, though it is understood that no more have been put up.

Libby Caldwell, 35, is among several householders who have decided to defy the ban.

The mum-of-two, who has rope lights on the outside of her Muirhouse Park home, said: “We are not changing them now. I have put Christmas decorations up for the last seven years and to be told to take them down is a bit strange.”

Jodie MacDonald, 24, whose Christmas decorations are confined to the inside of her home, said she supported the stance of her neighbours.

She said: “I don’t feel they should have to take them down. It makes no sense. And for the ones that have kept them up, I say ‘good on them’.”

Tenants have received no further correspondence from the MHA since the text 
message was sent out. And a “very positive” meeting was held between representatives from the Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse and the MHA.

No enforcement action will be taken against residents who continue to flout the rules, but tenants may still have to pay for the repairs if Christmas decorations are found to have damaged their homes.

MHA director Brenda Tonner said: “We are certainly not in the business of ripping off Christmas decorations.

“All we are interested in is potential damage to our property and safety.

“We sent out the contact to all our tenants and told them that we don’t give approval for attachments.

“We know that our properties don’t have external electricity supply so they are at risk by using the domestic supply.

“If we find that there is damage to our property following the Christmas period, we will deal with that as we normally would normally deal with tenants [who have caused damage to their homes].

“Each tenant has been reminded of the terms of their tenancy. We have not hounded them.

“The purpose of our one contact was to bring to their attention the potential risks and to make sure other people didn’t follow suit.

“If there had been a fire we would have been responsible. We are certainly not talking about enforcement action.

“We just want to make sure the tenants don’t damage the property and don’t put themselves at risk.”