LEAKS, faulty emergency lighting, a hole in the ceiling, sinking bathrooms and botched repair jobs – just a few of the accusations tenants aimed at housing company Guinness Partnership.
Guinness representatives met Millennium Court residents after a meeting was called by ward councillor Diana Patrick.
Cllr Patrick said: ‘I’ve called this meeting after the number of complaints I received. I invited Guinness to hear residents’ complaints and explain their shortcomings.’
One of the key issues was a lack of communication and clarity in dealing with emergency situations on a site which has a high proportion of elderly and disabled residents.
Linda Lacey, 70, said: ‘My shower flooded but I couldn’t get to the stopcock because of my arthritis. I was told I would have to wait three hours for someone to come out. In the meantime my apartment flooded and damaged the property downstairs. In the end I paid for a plumber myself.’
Another elderly resident said she had ‘showered with cold water for three months after being without hot water’.
Tenants also complained the wrong tradesmen were sent to carry out repairs.
‘Why would you send a carpenter to deal with a plumbing issue?’ said Linda.
Director of asset maintenance, Jez Leaper, said the company had acted to rectify this situation.
Jez said: ‘We’ve stopped employing people who are multi-skilled and moved to a more specialised workforce. I understand people’s frustrations and we need to do better. Our average response for general repairs was 26 days and it’s now 16.’
Concerns were also raised by parish councillor Anthony Berry, 70, who carried out his own health and safety inspection.
‘Guinness have a duty of care to disabled residents. After carrying out my inspection they are failing in that obligation. Guinness need to get their act together,’ he said.
Guinness have now agreed to deploy a liaison officer and run a complaints surgery and to introduce a resident’s repair check form to ensure jobs are satisfactorily completed.
Cllr Patrick said: ‘I carried out a housing association inspection two years ago and the main issue was appalling maintenance. My disappointment is the standard has not improved and there is still shoddy workmanship. I just want to see my residents happy.’