I have part ownership of a flat at an L&Q development, Harrington Court in north London.
Since moving in two years ago with my young family, we have experienced mismanagement of the estate and abysmal customer service from L&Q. Tenants have endured leaking roofs, falling roof tiles, incorrectly fitted floor tiles and poorly installed plumbing. The fortnightly garden maintenance visits we pay for have been unreliable.
Residents had to battle to reclaim overpayments of hundreds of pounds after service charge errors and being billed for erroneous water charges. L&Q seems to subcontract to a long, invisible trail of suppliers. There appears to be zero quality control. We are having to prove the endless faults were pre-existing, as all shared-ownership residents are responsible for repairs within their homes after the initial two-year warranty, no matter what percentage they own. Service charges continue to rise each year.
L&Q claims to be a housing association motivated by “social purpose and commercial drive”, yet it feels that it is very much a profit-driven enterprise getting multibillion-pound contracts.
Last year I reported on substandard conditions endured by tenants in several social housing developments by L&Q, with 95% of reviews on Trustpilot giving it one star.
L&Q says that since your building was completed in 2015 residents have raised five building defects and it has resolved the most serious.
“All our new-builds undergo thorough checks by in-house quality inspectors who sign off all trial build stages,” it says. “We also have in-house quality teams who ensure compliance with our design standards in addition to quality control checks by third parties including Building Control and the NHBC.
“We recognise that we can do more to learn from past issues so we have recently strengthened our technical specifications and will only take handover of homes if they are 100% complete.”
It claims to have a dedicated property manager for the development. However, you say the role has been filled by temps since the previous manager left and, with 1,000 flats to oversee, the job is impossible.
L&Q admitted to me that it did not refund residents for the erroneous water charge quickly enough and said it is determined to resolve all your concerns.
You insist residents have had to fight for every resolution and multiple problems are outstanding. Since you wrote to me you say that, despite two meetings and an apology from L&Q’s chief executive, only problems in individual flats have been addressed and residents are holding out for a full audit of the building they fear is inherently defective. L&Q says that it has resolved all reported defects and will in future be keeping in touch with residents through regular meetings, newsletters and site visits.
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