Families in a Croydon block of flats claim they have lived with infrequent hot water and heating for over a month after their maintenance company and the housing association ignored requests for help.
Residents of 386 London Road say they have repeatedly contacted the maintenance company, Residential Management Group (RMG), after the utilities of 36 families stopped working on October 19. Some of the flats are part-owned by the housing association Family Matters, whom residents also contacted.
Residents have also contacted Steve Reed, the MP for Croydon North, but claim he has not responded to their pleas for help. However, he has now offered to intervene.
386 London Road is billed as a “luxury” development in the heart of Croydon, boasting a rooftop terrace and houses around 36 families including children and elderly people. Some are said to have fallen ill as a result of the intermittant heating.
All the residents spoken to by EastLondonLines asked to be quoted anonymously.
One resident, who wishes to go by her Twitter username ‘JulesDGW’, said: “The answers are evasive and not giving any specifics. RMG is refusing to answer why the main biomass boiler cannot be turned on.
“Making an assumption based on [the property associate director’s] comments, they’re seeking information regarding the heating system. If the boiler is broken then it is gross negligence on their part. They haven’t even tried to find the issue and how to fix it. I presume this is why they don’t want to admit it’s broken.”
‘Someday’ is the answer we get from RMG about when they’re going to fix the heating and hot water in my building. Seems like its their standard response to everything
— Jules (@JulesDGW) November 19, 2017
— Jules (@JulesDGW) November 25, 2017
— Jules (@JulesDGW) November 16, 2017
JulesDGW described the flats as “freezing”, especially since temperatures have sometimes dropped to close to zero in recent weeks. She said:“The temperatures outside have plummeted and the flats are cold. We haven’t had a warm shower in six weeks.”
The building utilises a Renewable Biomass Energy heating system, a cheaper, low-carbon alternative to more traditional methods.
JulesDGW said: “RMG took over management of the building in 2013 and in 2013/2014 turned off the main biomass boiler. Residents were not informed so we do not know why. This had an impact on the temperature of the water and availability of heating. However, residents’ reports were not addressed.
“Since then the gas boiler – which was supposed to be only used for a few hours per day in winter – has been running 24/7, breaking frequently. They have run the system in a way that has left us with no heating.”
However, another resident, who also wishes to remain unnamed, said: “It’s been freezing. We get hot water every now and then, but barely, really.” Another resident said: “I haven’t tried to contact anyone myself because I know the way these things work. But it’s been ridiculous, I’ve had more cold showers than I’ve had warm recently. I’ve noticed the water more than the heating, but I tend not to use that anyway.”
Facing a similar utility outage for over a month at the end of 2014, residents of the block say they were told to “fix it [themselves]”.
A spokesperson for RMG told ELL: “Contrary to some reports, we can confirm both heating and hot water are operational at 386 London Road. The building is served by a communal heating system that has recently been thoroughly assessed. We have however received enquiries relating to the frequency and temperature of both heating and hot water supplies.
“We are in touch with residents on this matter, and have recently written to them to explain. We will continue to keep residents up to date with our findings and notify them of any further steps to be taken.” After being approached by Eastlondonlines, RMG have also made contact directly with JulesDGW.
A spokesperson for Reed said: “Steve has been copied in to emails to the maintenance company but nobody has asked for Steve’s help directly which would be why they haven’t received a response. He’d be more than happy to offer help if he can.”