A TENANT'S union are demanding action following Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) delays in restarting vital close cleaning services.

Living Rent have told the Glasgow Times that communal cleaning services have not yet returned to expected levels for people in GHA - who are part of the Wheatley Group -properties across Maryhill, Higher Knightswood, Scotstoun, Dennistoun and Castlemilk.

It is understood the issue is particularly bad in Dennistoun where many renters have not seen cleaners since March.  Despite reinstatement of close cleaning in the north of the city, tenant’s union Living Rent have reported that tenants across the East End have complained about delays the area with many still being charged for services they are not receiving.

While some closes have seen cleaning return, some residents have claimed that this is not the full deep clean that GHA promised in their statement on Monday September 21. It said: “A planned resumption of close cleaning began on September 21. It will take six to eight weeks for the service to return to normal so please bear with us. We will let you know in advance when we’ll be working in your close.” However, residents have claimed they are still waiting to hear when GHA will be returning to cleam their close.

Craigpark Drive resident Carol Gilchrist claims that her close has not been cleaned by GHA since March. She said: “It was March the last time it was done and we’re still paying everything as normal.”

“I was beginning to wonder for how long it would be going on for because no one has heard anything.”

Avril Armstrong, also of Craigpark Drive, claims that GHA has continued to take service charges from tenants but have not been providing services. She said: “My close or back court has not been touched since March.

“We did receive a newsletter saying the close would be deep cleaned but they’ve not been near. I have paid for a service I have not had. Why should I still be paying? I have worked in a hospital all through lockdown but all you get from them is they are working from home. You feel like you’re hitting your head off a brick wall.”

Living Rent are taking action on behalf of tenants who are still waiting for close cleaning to be reinstated. Their lead organiser James Roberts criticised the housing association.

He said: “GHA/Wheatley Group tenants from across the city have been in touch to say they were yet to see the service returned to their closes. This includes closes in Maryhill, Higher Knightswood, Scotstoun, Dennistoun and Castlemilk.

“Whilst some of these tenants have seen cleaning returned in recent weeks, there are two remaining problems: 1) more often than not there has only been a cursory clean, not the deep clean promised by GHA in their statement of September 21st and 2) there has been no mention of tenants being compensated for the cleaning charges included in rents, which Wheatley Group have continued to take throughout the pandemic.

“When cleaning was returned to the Wyndford closes in September, owner-occupiers were given a rebate on their factoring charges by Wheatley Group. Living Rent upholds that Wheatley Group need to rebate all tenants and residents living in their properties for the period that they have been charged for a cleaning service that has not been provided. At a time when people are losing their jobs, having their hours cuts and facing deep financial worries, it is entirely unacceptable that the country’s largest Social Landlords ignores repeated calls for this money to be put back where it belongs: in their residents’ pockets.”

A spokesman for GHA has advised tenants that work will be restarting over the next few weeks. “Our environmental teams have completed grass cutting in all our communities and have now moved on to the regular winter maintenance programme.

“We’re giving all our closes a deep clean and that work will be finished in the next fortnight. Craigpark Drive is being deep cleaned this week. Normal cleaning schedules are re-starting this month too.

“If any resident has an issue they should get in touch and we’ll get it sorted as soon as possible."

The Scottish Government issued guidance on cleaning communal areas in May. 
It stated: “Landlords should consider how they can carry out enhanced and more frequent cleaning in densely populated blocks like multi storeys during the period of the pandemic to minimise the risk of infection transmitting through contaminated surfaces.”