RESIDENTS in a tower block slammed as "the biggest eyesore" in their area say they feel "stuck" in the crumbling and derelict building.
The desperate tenants have been shafted with ancient lifts that constantly break and leave elderly neighbours stranded in their flats.
Residents of the 120-apartment block in Pendleton, Greater Manchester say problems with the dilapidated building are "scandalous".
In a scathing council meeting in September, Labour councillor John Warmisham slammed it as "the biggest eyesore in Salford", and accused the block's owners of "under investment".
Despite many occupants being elderly or disabled, tenants claim it's lifts frequently break down and take days to be repaired, leaving many stuck in their apartments.
They added that their flats are fitted with outdated water heating systems that sends their bills through the roof.
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One resident told Manchester Evening News: "Many residents can't afford to have constant access to hot water because it is too expensive to run the boiler – my bill was coming in at around £100 a week.
"People can't put the heating on because it is expensive and inefficient.
"The lifts are about 40 years old, and constantly break down. The company is always reluctant to fix the problems and will not replace them.
"This means that residents have to walk up flights and flights of steep stairs, and those with disabilities remain stuck in their flats."
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Another resident also claimed that the intercom has been broken for at least three months, meaning people are unable to receive packages.
They added: "This has also meant some residents missing out on essential district nurse visits. The communal laundry has four appliances – two washing machines and two dryers.
"However, only one washer and one dryer have ever worked at any one time in the time I have lived here."
But despite claiming they are currently forced to choose whether to "eat or heat", tenants are being slapped with a 20 per cent rent hike on Christmas Eve.
Residents slammed the move as "scandalous" after hearing they will soon see their monthly rent rise from £545 to £650.
Briar Hill Court tenant Benjamin Simpson, 37, said: "It's city centre prices. I think they're trying to gentrify the area and drive people out.
"It's a prime location and if you look at what they're planning on the bingo hall you can see the way it's going. It's nice people here. It's a really good community.
"But a lot of people in here are on the breadline. I don't know where they'll find another £100 a month."
A friend said to me the other day it's 'heat or eat', and that's exactly it
"I have three kids, so it'll have a big impact on me, but at the end of the day what are you going to do? It's hard to find somewhere else and put the deposit down", he added.
Martin Dwyer, 56, who has lived in the flats for five-and-a-half years, said: "Everyone's going mad [about the rent increase].
"A lot of people have complained, but their attitude is: 'If you don't like it, get out'.
"A lot of people here are on benefits, but it doesn't cover the full amount, so they have to put money towards it.
"It's a lot of money, especially the way things are these days. It's just not on, it's scandalous really."
A third resident said: "We appreciate that the cost of living has increased, but many will not be able to afford this 20 per cent increase, especially if improvements aren't made to the building.
"I am genuinely worried that many residents will be made homeless and I am worried that people will die over the winter due to the state of the flats and the increase in rent."
Cllr Warmisham has been contacted by several residents of Briar Hill Court, and he described the conditions residents are living in as "unacceptable".
He said: "I really feel for these residents. This should not be happening in this day and age – people not looking after properties and then putting rent up."
He said he would be asking the Salford City Council's landlord licensing team to look into the issues raised by the residents.
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Cllr Warmisham added: "They have the power to force landlords to bring their properties up to scratch."
Sterling Properties declined to comment.
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