A ‘Factoring Commission’ has been set up by City Council Leader Gordon Matheson. The stated remit of the commission is to, “develop practical recommendations to improve property management in the City […] to act as a representative of key stakeholders, [to ensure] that residents are aware of their rights and are able to exercise them on factoring issues, and to ensure that residents are aware of their responsibilities”.
The commission hosted a ‘public’ consultation event on Tuesday 4th September. The event, however, was in effect a focus group, which did not ask any questions about the need for public housing, neither did the ‘facilitators’ take note of any contribution from those of us who raised concerns about the choices people have in relation to where they are housed, and the access to knowledge about housing generally.
These were the questions that formed the basis of the focus groups:
1. What does good property management service look like?
2. What issues have there been in getting your property maintained and/ or repaired – any examples of good practice?
3. How can we get non-factored properties managed?
4. What do owners need to manage repairs themselves?
Members of tenants organisations who attended the event voiced their concerns that the factoring commission is ignoring the voice of tenants with no representation from any tenants organisation anywhere in Glasgow on the commission panel. This left us wondering what the real purpose of the commission is and what power it will have in ensuring “residents are aware of their responsibilities”.
We are concerned that this commission will act as a private members club for those who stand to profit from the increased privatisation of housing in Glasgow, and further erode tenant involvement in the decisions that will effect them directly.
No answers were forthcoming on the night, so we are proposing a collective response from tenant’s organisations and concerned residents which demands the presence of Tenants on this commission.
A representative from one tenant’s organisation, Ralph Green, has drafted this letter to the commission, we are asking representatives from each tenants organisation in Glasgow to add their concerns to this letter and to sign in on behalf of their organisation. We will then forward it on to the Commission and City Council for their response.
The list of the members of the Factoring Commission Panel is here. There is an obvious lack of tenants representation – GTRN will be lobbying for tenant representation alongside other tenants organisations to ensure tenant voices are heard. Recent revelations about the crumbling state of private housing in Glasgow – with 45% of private Glasgow homes in “urgent disrepair” – show that tenant representation is more crucial than ever in the private sector.
Contact GTRN to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org