As local MP calls for tighter checks on responsibilities of developers and property agents
Above: Clyde House is the building on the near right of the image
Justine Greening - MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields - has brought the plight of residents in Clyde House to the attention of parliament. She reported that people living in the block of flats that forms part of the Riverside West development had "experienced problems pretty much from the word go".
"The issues came to a head several weeks ago when a huge water leak from the heating system spread through the electrics," Ms Greening reported. She also said that following an inspection of the block she saw potential electrical faults, water damage close to electrical fittings and severe condensation due to poor ventilation. Residents have been having to cope with health issues resulting from the subsequent damp and mould, as well as "extremely unreliable" lifts which have left the elderly and those with disabilities literally unable to get into their homes.
On Friday (March 15th) Ms Greening reported to parliament that A2Dominion, the agent which manages the property, has now started on a programme of urgent repairs, but that a lack of clear guidelines as to who was responsible for maintenance work had resulted in long delays and lack of essential repairs.
Discussions between the developer of Clyde House, Barratt Homes, and property managers A2Dominion, as to who was responsible for the maintenance of the building led to delays in the work. Ms Greening told parliament that Barratt Homes had been clear that it had handed over repsonisbility to the housing agents and although these issues were now resolved and upgrades and maintenance work was now being carried out, "it should not have reached crsis point and they (residents) should not have had to call me, as their local MP, to step in and force the issue to get action".
She then called for the Government to set up independent inspections of specific cases, such as Clyde House, to quickly pick up issues arising between developers and housing agencies. She also called for "a more pan-regulatory system that allows us to identify issues that are not just specific to a particular residence but symptomatic of an organisation with failings".
In the case of Clyde House, Ms Greening thanked Wandsworth Council for sending inspectors to the property to check on health and safety measures.
Kit Malthouse, Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, confirmed that the upcoming social housing Green Paper would be seeking to protect tenants by "shifting regulation generally more towards consumer standards and away from financial regulation".
David Lingeman, A2Dominion’s Director of Property Services, told this website, “We are currently at the third week of our major refurbishment programme at Clyde House. Hot water and heating problems have now been repaired and a programme of works is ongoing to resolve the outstanding repairs and maintenance issues.
“As part of the work, we are improving the lifts in the building and will be replacing both lifts.
“We are also in the process of inspecting the residents’ flats, completing electrical tests and carrying out any other repair work required in individual homes.
“We understand the concerns of the residents at Clyde House and we are doing everything we can to resolve the issues that have been reported to us.
“We are meeting with residents face-to-face and have provided additional assurance through independent condition surveys of each flat.
“We have apologised to residents for the inconvenience caused and regret the issues have not been resolved as quickly as expected.”
March 19, 2019