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Leaseholders living in Broomhill Court in Woodford Green angry at high estimates for repairs by Redbridge Council which they say are only needed because of a failure by Redbridge Homes to maintain estate
Leaseholders facing bills of up to £2,000 for repairs to their homes say they are being made to pay for the failure of council management.
The council took back responsibility for its housing stock from the arms length management company, Redbridge Homes, last year.
It is currently carrying out repairs on the Broomhill Court estate in Broomhill Road, Woodford Green.
But leaseholders on the estate say Redbridge Homes failed to properly maintain the blocks, allowing problems with a leaking roof, rotting balustrades, cracked pointing and overflowing gutters to escalate despite residents' concerns.
Eric Jansen, 48, went through a lengthy complaints procedure with Redbridge Homes during 2011.
He said: “Their decent homes programme seemed to completely bypass this estate.
“I pay service charges of between £800-£1000 a year, but we have had leaking roofs, blocked guttering and rotting balustrades.
“A cherry picker was used to clear out the guttering in 2012, but it was not replaced or maintained properly.
“They never addressed the root of the problems here and now that they have gone, we are being asked to pick up the bill.”
Mr Jansen’s neighbour Maureen Kelly, 67, has lived in Broomhill Court for 41 years and been a leaseholder since 1985.
She said: “I only ever saw them clear the gutter out once in ten years and it overflowed and caused water damage on several occasions.
“They replaced the roof about 15 years ago and it started leaking badly soon after. There was water pouring down the stairs.
“I’m delighted the council have taken back responsibility, but we should not be paying for the failures of Redbridge Homes.”
Mr Jansen says he has spoken to workmen and painters on the estate and is worried by what they have told him.
He said: “According to the guys working here, when they stripped the paint off on some of the balconies they discovered rusted metal and concrete rot.
“That is just one of the problems - you can still see water damage on the walls and beams in the corridors for example.
"All of this should have been picked up by regular and proper maintenance which we never received under Redbridge Homes, despite our complaints.
“My wife and I have two children and plenty of bills, it is going to be a real struggle to pay for this work.”
A spokeswoman for Redbridge Council said: "As always when repair requests are received they are fully investigated and where possible reactive repairs are carried out to remedy the problem.
"There are instances where it is better value for money for the residents if work, such as communal painting etc. is carried out in conjunction with planned maintenance works.
"This allows for more effective use of scaffolding and other associated machinery and reduces the cost to residents.
"Our practice is to deal with communal repairs on a programmed basis where appropriate.
"As part of the consultation, leaseholders are always given estimated costs for the work to be undertaken, as was done in this case, however, no queries about the costs were received.
"If the work had been undertaken on a reactive basis, leaseholders would have been recharged in accordance with the terms of their leases which may have meant higher charges.
"If any specific queries are received from residents about particular repairs, we will of course look into these further."
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