Tenants could be collectively owed as much as £250,000 by the organisation that is supposed to represent their needs, according to Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council.
Until this year, council tenants had been paying a total of £160,000 a year via the council to Hammersmith and Fulham Federation of Tenants and Residents Associations (HAFFTRA).
However, as part of the council’s work to improve the way that it engages with residents, its contract with HAFFTRA has been terminated. In its place, the council has set up a number of new residents forums that have already started to meet.
Now, from the latest version of HAFFTRA’s audited accounts, it has become evident that HAFFTRA is still holding almost £250,000 of residents’ money in its reserves.
Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said:
“I am appalled that an organisation that champions itself as protecting its members rights has actually held onto £250,000 of their hard-earned money. Instead of putting it back into the community and spending it on Tenants and Residents Associations, it seems that they have kept purely to spend on its own survival. This equates to approximately £20 per tenant which I am sure they would be grateful to receive.
“The council has asked for the money to be paid back but has had no response so far. Tenants should rest assured that we will be doing everything we possibly can to persuade HAFFTRA return this money to its rightful owners.”
The council terminated its contract with HAFFTRA after leading expert, Phil Morgan carried out an independent review on how the council engaged with tenants and leaseholders. He reported that ”the arrangements for the relationship with HAFFTRA on the Tenants Levy are outdated and no longer fit for purpose. There is no coverage of value for money for the levy.”