Barton House tenants to continue to be charged rent, council says

There have been calls for the displaced residents' rent to be paused and refunded
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Bristol City Council has said all 400 tenants of Barton House will have to continue paying rent, despite being evacuated from the tower block over safety fears.

The announcement comes in the face of calls, including from campaign group Acorn, for the rent of the displaced residents to be paused and refunded.

Since being forced to leave their homes, a number of tenants have been placed in a Holiday Inn, with others staying with family and friends while some have returned to the block of flats.

The council is carrying out further surveys at the 1950s tower block in Barton Hill to determine when, or if, will residents will be able to return.

A Bristol Council spokesperson said: "Following consideration of the impact on residents and with reference to our own policy and national guidance, tenants will continue to be charged rent to maintain our contractual relationship with tenants.

"Also, if we were to stop charging rent, any tenant of Barton House in receipt of Universal Credit and/or Housing Benefit would see those benefits needing to be recalculated.

"We recognise this approach may cause some concern for residents and recognise there may be people wanting further advice and support. Anyone having difficulty paying rent should speak to their Income Officer who can help identify relevant support."

The council says it will continue cover the costs of accommodation and provide meals for residents who are staying in the Holiday Inn. It says it will also cover taxi costs for those who need them and for transport to get children to school.

It says households who are currently staying with friends and relatives are also entitled to some additional payments. This is to contribute to extra costs people may have, such as food or energy costs, up to a maximum of £50 a night.