Tenants complain of ever growing cracks and leaks at housing association property in Lewisham: ‘The whole property has turned against us’

BY THOMAS CAMPBELL
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

Tenants are having to endure growing cracks and leaks on a 30-flat social housing estate just over eight years after it was built.

Ernest Shackleton Lodge, a three-storey social housing estate in Greenwich, owned by Lewisham-based housing association London and Quadrant (L&Q), has been leaking for the past year.

The building, which tenants say “has turned against them”, was built eight years ago and is managed by R&R Property Management.

Tenant Sasher Thomas, who has rented her property since the building opened in 2012, said: “I just don’t have a quality of life any more.

The whole property has turned against us.” Mrs Thomas said she discovered a leak in her living room at the end of January.

Now two months on, she said it is still dripping. “I don’t even go into my living room any more because I’m scared it’s going to cave in,” said Mrs Thomas, who has to empty a bucket every morning and night.

Her neighbour Catherine Pearce said cracks had appeared across her walls. “The walls are moving in our flat.

There are huge cracks appearing everywhere” said Mrs Pearce, whose neighbour Roo Jillee’s flat is also up against the wall.

Mariangela Sillitoe, who lives on the top floor, said she discovered a leak above her stove in August 2018, which, she claimed, took more than a month to fix and was still damp.

Mrs Sillitoe, who said she was forced to move her stove every evening to cook for a month because of the leak, said: “We actually had a swimming pool above our heads.”

But when Mrs Sillitoe refused to pay the £580-a-month rent, she received a letter threatening court action and eviction. “I’m self-employed, so is my husband, and so when we take time off work [to deal with the issues] it’s money lost for us.”

Tenants said they have been told by engineers that the leaks were caused by the property’s underfloor heating and that the building’s roof needs replacing.

They met with L&Q and R&R Property Management in December after they complained to Greenwich MP Matthew Pennycook.

Those affected were offered £500 in compensation and promised swift action. But tenants said “it’s not enough” and are still waiting for a new roof over their heads.

Mrs Thomas, who receives housing benefits, is currently fighting eviction after receiving a notice of repossession for an outstanding payment.

“I know it’s because I have been the main face, contacting the MP and the media” said Mrs Thomas, who risks being left homeless.

A spokesman for L&Q said: “We are aware of the issues at Ernest Shackleton Lodge, and apologise unreservedly to all residents who have been affected.

“We are in the process of carrying out a programme of repairs including resolving issues with the underfloor heating system and replacing the building’s roof.

“While works are ongoing, we have installed a temporary boiler to ensure that residents continue to have a supply of heat and hot water.

“In addition, we have paid compensation to affected residents and have not charged for energy usage since September 2018.

“Once works are complete, L&Q will cover the costs of all internal redecoration and consider any additional claims for compensation.”

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