Tenants on a west London housing estate claim that problems with damp, mould and vermin in their homes are being ignored by their social landlord three years after they were first reported.
The Observer newspaper initially covered problems on the estate in 2018 and recently conducted a follow-up investigation. It was told by tenants that L&Q is still failing to address reports of unsafe and insanitary accommodation. A resident of one block. Antaine O’Briain was quoted as saying he and fellow residents have spent six years trying to resolve problems of damp and rotting windows.
“Rainwater drips on to the electricity meter cupboard, some residents are scared to open their windows for fear the frame will fall out, as has happened already, none of the flats have adequate central heating and the basement is so overrun with vermin that rubbish collectors refuse to enter the bin area,” he said. “L&Q promised renovations would begin in 2018 and then in 2019, but nothing happened and the place is falling apart.”
The Observer also highlighted the case of a domestic abuse survivor who said she contemplated suicide after three years of leaks and mould in her own L&Q flat. She says the association ignored her requests to be rehoused even after her bathroom ceiling collapsed due to leaks from a flat above.
In July L&Q agreed to find her a new home after The Observer intervened, and she was offered compensation for her damaged possessions. A spokesman said the woman’s experience had been “unacceptable” and it was launching an investigation into the repairs service’s failings.
L&Q has devised a five-year plan to tackle customer service failings and aims to invest £1.9 billon in its housing stock. It will include a wide range of improvements, including works to maintain Decent Homes standards, major internal and external works, estate improvements, fire safety and energy works to reduce carbon emissions.
It has also created a new housing management division overseen by Gerri Scott and an L&Q tenant will be appointed to a newly launched resident services board to ensure tenants’ concerns are heard.
Gerri Scott, Group Director of Customer Services at L&Q, said: “This programme puts much needed investment into L&Q’s homes and will be driven and overseen by our Residents Services Board. They will advocate on behalf of all residents to ensure that the programme delivers to timescale, is value for money and high quality.”
By Patrick Mooney, Editor