Residents consultation by ListenNHH! and Genesis Residents
NO VOTE FOR 170,000 RESIDENTS
The management of Genesis Housing Association and Notting Hill Housing refused to hold an independent ballot proposed by residents campaigners. 22 Board members and 156 Shareholders took the decision on the merger. That means the 170,000 residents had no vote.
Shareholders and residents were not given accurate information about the merger: in particular they were not told about the risks of the merger and about the proposed rule changes. Neither housing association would distribute our material, which set out what we saw as the disadvantages of the merger. This refusal is in direct conflict with government guidance. But both housing associations used the resources of the two associations to write to 64,000 homes, to put the pro-merger case.
We conducted our own door-to-door consultation with: secure and assured tenants in street properties in the heartland of both Genesis and Notting Hill; residents in Southend; and leaseholders, shared owners and ‘affordable rent’ tenants in East, South and West London.
WHY DID RESIDENTS OPPOSE THE MERGER?
We found that residents voted against the merger because: they were angry with the very poor quality of repairs and services of Genesis and Notting Hill; they saw both housing associations getting worse as they got bigger (particularly Genesis); they feared the loss of already dwindling local services; they assumed it was being done so senior executives could get higher pay.
A tiny number of residents on the doorstep did support the merger, but essentially for a negative reason: ‘Nothing could be worse than what we have now.’
We are volunteers. Had we had more time and resources, we feel that the vote against the merger would have been overwhelming. This is presumably why the Boards and Executive teams of both housing associations refused to carry out an independent ballot and have also refused to publish any statistical information. To date the full details of their ‘consultation' remain secret.
1,060 RESIDENTS VOTED AGAINST THE MERGER
Despite the barriers put in place by the two housing associations, 1,060 Genesis and Notting Hill residents voted against the merger either at a stall in the market at Notting Hill, in door-to-door discussions or by on-line voting.
RESIDENTS OVERWHELMINGLY REJECTED THE MERGER AT MEETINGS
Two residents' meetings were held. On 16 August, 107 of the 110 NHH and Genesis residents voted against the merger (some 20 residents were unable to enter the overcrowded room). At a further NHH residents' meeting on 31 August, 63 out of 65 residents present voted against the merger.
At an official consultation meeting on 23 October, some 120 residents voted against the merger, with only two in favour.
The Joint Committee of Genesis/NHH Residents. February 2018