MP receives hundreds of complaints every year about Circle Housing Merton Priory's poor maintenance
A housing association responsible for the maintenance of 9,000 homes has come under fire following hundreds of complaints from residents about its service.
Circle Housing Merton Priory (CHMP) won a bid to take over Merton Council's housing stock in March 2010, with promises to improve services and upkeep of properties.
But with Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh receiving 240 complaints from exasperated tenants about maintenance in the last year, excluding those concerning emergency repairs, its competence has been questioned.
Ms McDonagh said: "We have got to the stage where we feel like we work for Merton Priory Homes because it is just reminding them to phone people back.
"People have numerous visits from surveyors but no work gets completed. It's very very frustrating.
"It's very very frustrating": MP Siobhain McDonagh
"I think there are lots of issues - it is the way repair requests are logged and sent to contractors and then dealt with by contractors.
"A while ago they changed the contractors with a handover which went partially wrong. They say IT has been rescued but it hasn't been."
CHMP's properties are maintained by social housing provider Keep Moat, which was formed after merging with Apollo, another housebuilder, in 2012.
Speaking to the Wimbledon Guardian earlier this month, Pauline Ford, CHMP regional operations director, admitted there is a back-log of repairs due to an IT problem but said they have been in regular contact with residents to update them on the problem.
She said: "There have been some impacts on our residents that we wouldn't have wanted but we are working with our residents to get the services back where they used to be."
Ms Ford claimed emergency repairs are carried out within four hours, urgent repairs within 72 hours and routine repairs within 28 days, with 89 per cent of residents surveyed saying they were happy with their repairs.
However, she admitted only 10 to 20 per cent of residents receiving repairs are called to complete the survey every month.
The Wimbledon Guardian also receives regular complaints about CHMP service providers, with one resident becoming so frustrated with an unrepaired hole in her window, she delivered a hand-written poem to their Morden offices.
Iyabode Animashaun, of Armfield Crescent, said she has been living with the hole, where her kitchen fan was replaced, for the past three weeks, as CHMP weren't able to send an electrician and handyman at the same time to complete the work.
She said CHMP havn't replied to her letter so far, which she delivered on Monday, June 9.
Fed up: CHMP tenant Iyabode Animashaun
Ms Ford could not explain why an 89-year-old pensioner was not able to return to his flat from his care home for four days after sewage spewed into his bathroom from drains from an upstairs toilet.
The sewage spill at Walter Kerbert's flat in Lee House, Wimbledon was discovered by neighbour and carer, Keith Stepto, after he went round to collect the post at 9.30am on Friday morning, May 16.
When he got in, he said he found sewage spewing into the bathroom from drains from upstairs’ toilet, which was soaking into the walls and carpet.
Mr Stepto immediately called CHMP repairs service who said they would send a plumber.
A plumber arrived at about 2pm to fix the leak but said he wouldn’t clean up all the mess as this wasn’t his job.
Mr Stepto called back CHMP who told him the plumber should ring his boss to organize a cleaner.
When no-one came he rang back CHMP who said they said they would send an emergency cleaner.
When no-one arrived he called again and they denied knowledge of this and said they didn’t send emergency cleaners and told him to contact the housing officer.
By this point it was 5pm and the housing officer wasn’t available for the weekend.
Wayne Hainsworth, CHMP managing director, commented on Tuesday, May 20: "We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused to Mr Kerbert while we were arranging for a specialist contractor to clean up the waste.
"This was completed today and a surveyor will be visiting tomorrow to make sure no further repairs are needed.
"Residents should contact the customer services team during normal operating hours and the out of hours contact number in emergencies."
Do you think CHMP are providing a good service? Comment below or contact Louisa Clarence-Smith on 0208 722 6335, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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