Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Fold Housing sub-letting prompts residents’ anger

South Belfast residents protested in numbers last week, in the pouring rain, when it was discovered a landlord was attempting to sub-let a Housing Association house for £620 a month.

The house, 8 Roosevelt Street, was let out by Fold Housing for an alleged £400 a month to the person who then went to McGeown estate agents in an attempt to rent the property out.

Once the estate agents discovered the house was owned by Fold Housing they immediately took it off the market.

Ann Crowe of the local housing focus group said: “I’ll be damned if I’ll let a landlord sub-let a house when there are people living in squalor in the Village.

“There are two houses and two apartments we think are being sub-let but we cannot confirm that as there isn’t sufficient evidence at the minute,” she added.

The residents were joined in their protest by UUP councillor Bob Stoker. He said: “It’s absolutely despicable.

“This was a house suitable for a family, and there are still hundreds of families in the village who want to be re-housed.”

He said there were houses in the area not fit for human habitation and that is the reason why the area was redeveloped by the Housing Executive.

“The Housing Executive have serious questions to answer on the verification system they use for who lives in houses and who doesn’t,” said Mr Stoker.

“I would ask both the Housing Executive and the Housing Association to take account of local knowledge — we know who lives in the community and are aware of people’s circumstances.

“I’ll be asking for a complete review of every house that has been allocated in this phase of development. There are allegations that other apartments are being sub-let too. They all need to be re-examined.”

Of the house in question he said: “We are looking for the house to be re-allocated to a local person. We were assured something like this wouldn’t happen, but now it has,” he added.

Eileen Patterson, director of Fold Housing said: “We were made aware of this issue and we are investigating it in full.

“We are treating this very seriously and are attempting to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

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