Social housing tenants in a block of eight flats on busy Mortimer Street in the West End ward were left without a front door for weeks on end as registered housing provider A2 Dominion “waited for a quote” to carry out the repair.
The street door at the block on Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia appeared to have been smashed in and was only repaired after Fitzrovia News contacted A2D. This is on a busy street and an area of high crime. There was also a notice taped to the back of the door asking people to shut the door due to a recent burglary.
Fitzrovia News spoke to two residents who said that the broken door had been reported to A2D but that nothing had been done. One resident said it had been broken for “about a month”, and another thought that it was broken “since the beginning of the year”.
It appears the premises was inspected on 14 January, according to a cleaners’ signing-in sheet in the hallway.
This is not the first time we have heard of problems with A2D property. Last year we reported on a broken street door and other problems at the shared ownership housing at Rathbone Square which A2D were very slow to deal with, and residents claimed A2D was incompetent in dealing with maintenance issues.
The Mortimer Street social housing came about by a s106 agreement with Westminster council for the developer to provide affordable housing as part of the redevelopment of the former Royal Mail delivery deport at Rathbone Place.
The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association (FNA) said: “We are very concerned to see yet again a problem with A2D housing in Fitzrovia connected to a s106 agreement to bring affordable housing to the neighbourhood. Residents in social housing and intermediate affordable housing should expect a better standard of care from the registered housing provider and security issues should be dealt with promptly.”
When the FNA made contact on residents behalf, A2D responded saying: “We are currently waiting for the approval of a quote [to repair the door].”
David Lingeman, Director of Property Services, A2Dominion, told Fitzrovia News:
“We have ordered a bespoke replacement door to be made. This will be fitted as soon as it arrives. In the meantime we have made arrangements to secure the street entrance and make things safe for the residents. [Fitzrovia News can confirm this was done in January after we had been in contact]
“However, we do appreciate that on this occasion there was an unacceptable delay in taking this action. This was caused by the freehold of the block recently changing — leading to a lack of clarity on the responsibility for repairs within the lease.
“We would like to apologise to the residents and assure them that now the obligation for this accommodation has been clarified, this will not happen again,” said Lingeman.
West End ward councillors expressed concern about the standard of housing management by A2D.
Conservative councillor Jonathan Glanz told Fitzrovia News:
“It is unacceptable that the property should be left insecure, and I have written to the Housing Team requesting that this be actioned immediately. I am increasingly concerned at the attitude and approach of Housing Associations (now known as Registered Providers), and this is a recurring theme across the West End and beyond. It seems to me grossly unfair that these associations, that are in receipt of substantial public funding and other benefits and privileges, should do anything other than concentrate on their core role of providing affordable housing for those in need, and maintain, repair and manage the properties in an efficient and proper way,” he said.
Labour councillor Pancho Lewis said:
“It’s frankly totally, totally unacceptable that A2 Dominion should have taken so long to repair the door. This is a busy road with plenty of people passing by — their inaction is hugely irresponsible. Unfortunately they’re now beginning to build up a record of a significant failure to deliver on their core responsibilities. I am taking this up and will be pressing them and the Council hard to let them know we are not going to stand for this. Fitzrovia deserves better,” he said.