Muirhouse tenants in ‘sub-standard’ homes complaint

Fidra court, Muirhouse. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Fidra court, Muirhouse. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Tenants at council high-rise flats have demanded action after it was claimed residents are living in “sub-standard conditions” in Muirhouse.

The city council’s Housing and Economy Committee heard how tenants are reportedly living with widespread mould, flooding and asbestos dangers in high rise flats – putting people’s health at risk.

The six council high rise flats affected in Muirhouse are Fidra Court, Oxcars Court, Inchmickery Court, Birnies Court, Gunnet Court and May Court – while concerns were also raised about the council’s response to problems with properties.

Maddie Barnick, organiser of tenants’ union Living Rent, has been investigating the “widespread” conditions.

She said: “I’ve had 60 open doors and 45 of them are affected by the repair problems.

“The first tenant I met from there was a mother of three. Her eight-year-old daughter is sick because her house is full of mould. It’s unrelenting throughout and every time it rains, it gets worse.”

She added: “One person, who has now moved out, had such bad mould in the house that the carpeting got moulded over and needed to be removed. All his belongings including suites and clothing were completely lost.”

Mike Vallance has put up with water coming through his ceiling at Fidra Court since last year.

He said: “The water has been coming on to the electrics. The heater in the kitchen had to be disconnected. I don’t think any of us need told about the dangers of fire in high rises after Grenfell.

“It’s really urgent that the council takes action to ensure that people have a safe decent home to live in. The majority of tenants in these six high rises in Muirhouse are living in sub-standard conditions.”

Councillors asked whether the residents had contacted the Edinburgh Tenants Federation (ETF) to seek support.

Ms Barnick added: “I’ve reached out to ETF, they haven’t reached out back. I have spoken to tenants who have tried to raise issues through ETF and sometimes it’s been four years and they have had enough of trying through them.”

ETF denies any claims it hasn’t investigated problems.

Betty Stevenson, head of ETF’s High Flats Tenants Group, said the residents had not contacted the organisation about the problems.

She said: “We offer tenants any support they want – we have for the last 28 years.

“I was angry to hear them say that we didn’t give help when they never asked us.”

Cllr Kate Campbell, Housing and Economy Convener, said: “We recognise that some of our housing blocks are in need of repair and modernisation. We are preparing a long term investment plan because bringing all of our housing stock up to a high standard is a priority for us.”