Brixton: Iveagh House residents say 'We're in despair right now' amid heating outages and mould
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"We're in despair right now and it's very depressing." Those are the words of a resident of a south London housing block plagued by damp and mould - and facing months of repair work.
Scaffolding surrounds the Brixton building which is undergoing a £12 million works programme to the property, during which occupants have faced heating and hot water outages.
The work involves removing a communal heater and installing individual heaters, meaning residents will now have to pay their own bills. A Guinness Partnership spokesperson said this is down to new legislation and said additional temporary heaters are available for anyone who needs them.
They said tenants of the Loughborough Road property whose homes are continually affected by damp and mould have been offered alternative accommodation.
Iveagh House residents
Iveagh House resident Niks told LondonWorld: "We're in despair right now and it's very depressing. Since last December, the issues that we've been facing is the fact that the heating system hasn't been working, we've been out of hot water for days on end, we're not notified when anything's going to happen either - when the hot water is going to return off. We've currently got residents living in mould with mould. We're just quite fed up at the minute in regards to not having the right care as residents who have been complaining about these issues for the last year."
Niks said the heaters provided are inadequate to warm a room, adding: "So we're quite we're quite fed up, yet again. We're angry residents, that we're having to pay full rent as well, in these living conditions, and the building work doesn't stop until about 5pm. And it starts at seven, eight o'clock in the morning."
Resident's complaints are "falling on deaf ears" with Guinness Partnership, Niks said, adding: "It's like we go into these meetings, month in month out, and nothing's getting done. The agenda is getting bigger, and at the minute the agenda of the residence doesn't seem to be a priority for Guinness. It's more the fact that they're expecting us to wait around to live in luxury but right now, this isn't luxury. We're at our despair."
The Guinness Partnership statement in full
A spokesperson for The Guinness Partnership, a registered 'community benefit society', said: “Over recent years we had seen an increase in the number of repairs reported at Iveagh House, including cases of damp and mould. It is for this reason that we are on site with a £12m programme of works to improve Iveagh House. Work ongoing over coming months will improve residents’ homes and will make the building a better and safer place to live.
“We continue to respond to day to day requests for repairs during the wider programme of works. We apologise profusely for the poor living conditions experienced by residents, and we apologise for any inconvenience whilst we carry out works."
“As part of this work we have decommissioned an aged and increasingly unreliable heating system, which was at risk of failing over the winter months. We offered all residents temporary heaters and are funding the energy costs associated with this, which will be reimbursed every week. If any resident requires additional heaters, these are available."
“The homes will be connected to the local heat network at the appropriate point in the programme, and residents will have access to a reliable and efficient source of warmth. Historically, residents have paid a flat rate for heating and hot water irrespective of usage. Under incoming legislation, heating and hot water charges must be individually metered and billed so that residents pay for what is consumed by their household. Residents will receive individual bills clearly indicating consumption and the applicable tariff. The costs will reflect the cost to Guinness and no mark-up is applied. We are offering residents guidance and support during the transition to new arrangements.
“The safety and comfort of our residents is our priority. Residents whose homes continue to be affected by leaks or damp and mould, including those pictured, have been offered alternative accommodation whilst the issues are addressed. Some residents have chosen not to take up the offer of alternative accommodation. We will have extra engineers on site throughout next week to respond to immediate concerns reported to us. We will be visiting every home and we have advised all residents of this by letter, so that everyone is able to access this. We will keep the situation under close and continuous review.
“We have offered blinds and mesh window coverings to households to protect their privacy and are restating this offer where additional window coverings are needed. In response to further resident feedback, we have introduced new site rules which mean the scaffold cannot be used before 9am. We take seriously any concerns about the conduct of contractors, and these should be reported to us to investigate.”