Chalcots residents complain of late reimbursement from Camden Council
PUBLISHED: 17:39 17 August 2017
Reimbursements for rental payments during the period Chalcots residents were out of their homes are being dealt with very slowly, private leaseholders and social tenants have complained.
Thousands of residents of four Chalcots towers were told to leave their homes on June 24 after the London Fire Brigade and Camden Council deemed the fire risk sufficiently acute to warrant a full-scale evacuation.
A statement subsequently posted to the council website said: “We will not charge tenants rent or council tax whilst they are in temporary accommodation. If you are a private tenant, your council tax will not be charged and your rent will be reimbursed for the duration you are in temporary accommodation.”
But one leaseholder, Edwin D’Souza, 46, said he has still to receive payment for unpaid rents from his tenants in Dorney block - and that repeated attempts to elicit information have been fruitless.
“I don’t understand why it is taking so long,” said Mr D’Souza, a software developer who lives in another flat he owns in Burnham. “I think they want me to just forget about it, but I’m not going to do that.”
Meanwhile, many tenants have not been repaid for rent and council tax they paid during the period of the evacuation.
“They continued to charge me rent and council tax for the entire period. We’re overdrawn on our rent account now,” said Zoe Rice, who lives in Taplow with her partner and their three young children. Ms Rice is also attempting to secure up to £1200 reimbursement for the cost of changing her summer holiday plans at the last minute. “You try to get through to them, there’s an email address- but there’s never any reply,” she said.
A spokesperson for Camden Council pointed to the large volume of claims being processed.
“We apologise for the length of time this process is taking but it is a complex operation, particularly when claims are being made by sub-tenants of leaseholders. It is vital that we not only receive receipts for the cost, but also proof of tenancy and proof of respective financial rent transactions.
The council has a duty to the taxpayer to carry out that due diligence.”
“Equally we acknowledge that we have a duty to ensure that residents are inconvenienced as little as possible during this difficult time and any resident that wishes to raise concerns about the implications of how long the process is taking can contact us on 0207 974 4444 (option 7) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”