June 28, 2017

Rats and rain beset residents of St Mauritius House

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UPDATE: Hyde responds to YouTube and Carlex shaming (Monday pm January 11)

Dead rats, a kitchen carpeted in mouse faeces, water pouring through bedroom ceilings … these are the conditions filmed at the Hyde Housing’s St Mauritius House, in Lewisham, south east London.

A video of conditions at the site of 36 flats has been posted on YouTube.

StMauritiusHouseratsIn it Maureen Bryan, whose father lives in St Mauritius House, says the residents, who are all tenants, have been abandoned and forsaken.

Meanwhile, “service charges have increased and the on-site manager no longer exists”.

Gutters are forest of weeds, which have not been cleared out, and water has poured onto a lower roof for “six years”.

StMauritiusHouse2St Mauritius House is a sheltered housing scheme ‘of particular interest to’ Afro-Caribbean, Asian and ethnic elders.

Maureen Bryan says: “My 89-year-old father is a resident at St Mauritius House, which caters for elderly residents with a high level of need.

“Over the last few months I have noticed the distress of my father and the other 40+ residents due to their current living conditions which has included a mice, rat and cockroach infestation which started in approx. March 2015.

“However, the following issues have been on-going for some time: the leaking roof, blocked gutters, over-flowing rubbish bins, lack of adequate lighting inside and outside the building, and poor maintenance of the gardens.

“There are also issues regarding the laundry room, which has one washing machine, and two dryers, for 40 tenants. The washing machine often breaks down and tenants are left for weeks without any other alternative means of doing laundry.

“Yet again the washing machine has broken down, this time with my fathers laundry stuck inside.

“The tenants have raised the repair issues with Hyde over and over again, but the response received has been vastly inadequate in most cases.

“In others, there has been no response at all. I have made a formal complaint to Hyde on behalf of my Father in regards to the infestation within his flat and received no written response. I then contacted Environmental health and the local MP.

“Both contacted Hyde and again Hyde failed to respond. Environmental Health, having been ignored by Hyde, were unsatisfied by the lack of response and therefore followed up with an enforcement notice which gave Hyde a period in which to adhere and comply. Hyde failed to do so.

“As a result, I decided to take action and create the short film that documented some of the issues that my father and the other residents have been faced with.

“The purpose of the short film was to give these elderly residents a voice when Hyde has continually chosen to ignore them. The tenants have been advised that the warden/support worker who provides advise to tenants regarding rent, repairs and any other queries is also due to be terminated in April.

“However, Hyde has written to residents in the meantime, informing them of the increased annual service charges.”

The Hyde Housing made the following comment to Carlex this afternoon:

“We are sorry. This level of service is not acceptable. There will be an investigation to understand how we failed in this instance to make sure it does not happen again.

“I have visited residents at St Mauritius House today (Monday) to apologise to them again, listen to their concerns and to give them my personal assurances that we are committed to improving the service we provide to them. We will also ensure that we continue to communicate with them and keep them informed.

“Working with pest control specialists we have been trying to eradicate the vermin problem at St Mauritius House. Bait has been laid down in common areas on several occasions. It is clear that our efforts were not enough. Further baiting is ongoing in communal areas and individual flats and this will be followed by ‘stopping up’ work. We will make sure there is focused effort on ridding the scheme of the problem.

“On Thursday morning I directed senior housing staff to St Mauritius House to rectify the problems highlighted in the video. I issued a personal letter of apology to each resident later that day which included commitments on what would happen and when to quickly resolve the outstanding issues.

“Most of the repair issues mentioned in the film have now been fixed and we’re working to complete the few remaining repairs as soon as possible this week.

“Residents will be compensated for any reasonable costs incurred for vermin treatment in their homes during the time it has taken to resolve the current situation. We will investigate the reasons for the issues at St Mauritius taking too long to resolve to make sure such this situation doesn’t occur again.”

Carol Carter
Group Director of Housing

Comments

  1. You will have a long wait for a sensible response from Hyde, we have been waiting for two years for our accounts to be rectified after finding charges not applicable to Joseph Conrad House, Canterbury, Kent. Trying to seek a sensible response – all go unanswered – a complete waste of time in complaining, have never known it so bad as it has been these last 2/3 years. Like wise we still do not have the new service charge which should start on the 1.4.16 due to them not finishing our accounts. Any request for copy of invoices (section 20c) falls on deaf ears. Surely the law – i.e Companies House should have the powers to heavily fine companies who consistently use section 20b to delay filing accounts on time on a yearly basis.
    Ann & John Carte

  2. Trevor Bradley says:

    An absolute disgrace. Yet another managing company that should be totally closed down and its management banned from working again.
    Looking at their web site thjey make some amazing claims as follows –
    The Hyde Group is one of the UK’s leading and award winning providers of housing
    •We are one of the top three performers for value for money
    •Our social investment team work hard to improve the lives of our most vulnerable residents
    •Hyde is one of less than 7% of companies awarded Investors in People Gold
    •Hyde Housing Association was founded in 1967
    •Turnover – £282m
    •Assets – £3bn
    •Homes – 50,000
    •Residents – 95,000
    •Staff – 1,200
    Surely the above cannot be the same Hyde that the Carlex article refers to!!!!.
    Trevor Bradley

  3. Trevor Bradley says:

    Carol Carter, I have read your letter and see it as nothing but a feeble response you are forced to make now that your company work practices have been exposed.
    6 years of water leaks in buildings – well what can one say.
    Grasses growing in gutterings – that does not happen overnight or even over months.
    Residents ceiling leak so bad he had no lighting for over 100 days and repairers continually not turning up.
    No washing machine for weeks – how bad does it have to get before you do anything.
    You say that most of the repairs have now been fixed – I would dam well hope so, but doubt it.
    I have good experience in property management (over 55s BUT only Freehold as I refuse to associate with any of these leasehold sharks) and nothing like this would ever happen under my control.
    After all it is not just one or two problems is it.
    It would be nice if you published the findings of your investigation on this site and how many staff had to be dismissed because of their failings.

    Also what about the other post on this site – Joseph Conrad House waiting for two years for their accounts to be rectified after finding charges not applicable to Joseph Conrad House, Canterbury, Kent. Trying to seek a sensible response – all go unanswered – a complete waste of time in complaining says the residents
    Bye the way, your website “sounds and looks great”, does make one wonder how much of it is really true

  4. Trevor Bradley says:

    Carol, don’t want to rub salt into the wound but in my world of managing freehold, we aim to even change failed light bulbs before a resident sees or reports it – and we usually do, now that’s customer service.
    Audited and fully transparent accounts, with detailed lists of expenditure and copy invoices are always produced by no later than 3 months from end of each sites financial year, because that’s how it should be!

  5. Michael Epstein says:

    Trevor Bradley,
    Presuming a managing agent is not tasked with directing funds to a related party and presuming a managing agent is not in financial distress, is it not the case that it is actually easier to manage a development well than badly?

    • Trevor Bradley says:

      Hello ME, sorry only just read your post.
      Well, to me it is absolutely brilliant to run a development well, and such rewarding when customers come out with comments like “please don’t ever stop managing us will you”.
      I would find it quite hard to manage “badly”, and find it difficult to think up all these leasehold scams.
      Yes, when we quote a management fee, that’s what we charge.
      No mark up on Ins policies, electric, gas, contractors cost, what they all charge is what the residents (freeholders in my/our case) pay.

    • Trevor Bradley says:

      Hello ME. sorry only just read your post.
      Yes, I find it very easy to manage well, and very satisfying when hearing such comments as “please don’t ever stop managing us will you”
      I think I would find it difficult to manage badly. Having to work out what we could scam the poor leaseholder for next, oh no, I could not work or be involved with any management that does.
      When we state a management fee that is what it is, full stop.
      We apply no “mark up” to anything, Insurance policies, gas, electric or contractors costs.
      The residents (they own the freehold) pay what we are charged, even if we get a discount it is passed on

  6. Hi Trevor,
    Assume the difference is between freehold and leasehold?
    We own 70% on leasehold ownership, but pay for 100% of any works needed or requested.
    Also presume that if contributions to political party are made, then politicians will
    not intercede to challenge any wrong doing for fear of killing the goose!!. The fairly early response from Hyde, shows that they respond faster to bad media coverage than they do to the Residents, which goes to show where their true aims and allegiance is!
    We do not want to be at war with our Housing associating, but trying to assist with the smooth running of our scheme is not welcomed. So we are ignored at every level

    Ann Carte.

  7. Michael Epstein says:

    It may be of interest to note that at the LVT(Upper Tribunal) Hyde Housing Association defended an application to vary the lease. The object of the variation was to allow for the cap on service charges to be taken away. Fortunately, the application was defeated. So who was it that wanted to increase the service charges by getting rid of the cap? OM property Management (Peverel/Firstport)
    And guess who the freeholder was? Proxima GR Properties!

    • Carlex,

      My last posting has been removed totally, not a word why, or item as others, words redacted, it would help if someone would explain to me, why my postings are no longer welcome?

      Michael,
      Where can this case be read?
      Who from these companies applied to Vary the Lease and the reason given?

      Recently Proxima GR Properties were named as Freeholders but when checked at Land Registry it turned out to be one of the 22 Fairhold Company’s?

      • Carlex,

        My last posting has been removed again?

        12 comments made only 11 show?

        Sorry my comments are not to your liking.

        Must try harder?

  8. Michael Epstein says:

    A few more details of the Hyde Housing Association case are now available.
    The development involved was named as Harlands House, Haywards Heath W.Sussex and was built under the affordable homes scheme, which included affordable service charges.
    Service charges for leaseholders was capped at a maximum of $10.63 (should be pounds but can’t find it on my new keyboard help!). This could only be increased in line with the retail price index (RPI)
    Peverel/Firstport had as I understand it been invoicing service charge demands at the full rate, ignoring the service charge cap. Apparently they claimed they could not find the paperwork allowing for the price cap.
    They went to the Upper Tribunal under Section 27A Landlord & Tenant Act to apply for a variance of lease, in order to rid themselves of the price cap. They argued, that insufficient funds would be generated by the service charge income to properly maintain the development.
    The Tribunal dismissed their claim, adding that just because Proxima/Peverel had signed up to a “bad deal” was no reason to vary the lease.