Stevenage tower block rent strike

Tower block residents have begun a rent strike after the latest in a run of lift breakdowns which have left residents including the elderly climbing up to 12 flights of stairs.

Half the residents of The Towers in Stevenage – 25 in total – have signed a petition to withhold their rent to Stevenage Homes until the lift is repaired. Occupants have been left to use the stairs in the 12-storey building.

Protestor Jeremy Williams, who lives on the top floor, said: “We have all sent a petition saying that we are going to refuse to pay rent unless it is fixed or replaced. It has been out of action since Friday night. The thing is it was out of order in January. They partly fixed it and it’s broken down again. They are waiting for parts again which by the sounds of it is the same part as last time.

“The lift is 20 years old – it’s just going to be a patch job. It wasn’t properly fixed the first time. There are elderly people on the upper floors that need the lift. There’s a strong feeling about it.”

Stevenage Borough Council engineers inspected the lift and, for safety reasons, decided to take it out of service while they wait for a part from abroad, a council spokesman said.

“We have notified our tenants that the council’s caretakers and tenancy officers are on hand to assist them while the lift remains out of service,” she added.

“Further support for those tenants with mobility or health issues that prevent them from being able to use the stairs can be available on request.

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“We will continue to keep our tenants informed as the repair work progresses. We appreciate that this situation is inconvenient for residents and would like to assure everyone that we are doing everything that we can to minimise disruption and bring the lift back into use as quickly as possible.”