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Local MP Dr Rupa Huq raises serious concerns from Acton Gardens residents over their treatment by L&Q

MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Dr Rupa Huq petitioned the House of Commons on Monday night (13 March 2023) and has asked the Government to intervene over the way in which residents living at London & Quadrant (L&Q) Group’s Acton Gardens development have been treated.

The South Acton residents say they have been living in poor conditions that has seen lifts not working, supplies of water and energy failing, repairs not being done, concerns over security not being addressed while management fees and service charges have risen.

Residents reached out to Dr Huq following months of trying to get support from their local Councillor Josh Blacker who they say has failed to help them.

In presenting the petition at the House of Commons, Dr Huq said: “It’s not even a decade old and leaseholders are concerned about spiralling service charges paid to London & Quadrant in the face of incomplete repairs to communal doors and security, malfunctioning water and energy supplies, unanswered inquiries and the bottomless pit of the sinking fund leaving them to wonder where the money is going. Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the government to take into account the difficulties faced by Acton Gardens residents who’ve been fighting for increased transparency of service charge accounts and expenditure from L&Q and take immediate action to ensure that lease holders are granted that transparency.”

Click here to read the full petition.

Following the petition, L&Q has now been contacted by the House of Commons for their response.

The escalation to the House of Commons comes as a result of residents saying they have been let down by their local councillor Josh Blacker as well as getting no responses from the developers L&Q over their concerns.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Councillor Jon Ball, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for planning and housing said: “The Liberal Democrat opposition have heard many examples of failures by housing associations which have made life very difficult for their tenants and leaseholders. I therefore moved a motion at Ealing Full Council in December requiring the Council to demand better for residents who are currently experiencing issues with their Housing Association.”

He added: “Unfortunately the Labour administration amended our motion watering it down, however they retained a commitment to “work collaboratively … [to] maintain existing stock to high standards”. They need to put this into action and urgently work with L&Q to resolve these issues.”

 

One resident, @pddavie told EALING.NEWS that they contacted Councillor Blacker over the summer and felt let down by his lack of meaningful response despite emailing him and also messaging via Twitter.

He said: “We’ve heard nothing.  Thankfully Rupa Huq has been very helpful and has listened to our concerns. But we’ve had nothing at all from Councillor Blacker.”

The residents also say they contact L&Q and get no response to their concerns.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, @pddavie highlighted what he says are three “major areas of concern”.

“1. Service charges & Sinking funds: These increase year on year with no transparency or explanation why. We are charged for services that are not delivered/provided (e.g., garden maintenance, working lifts, internal decoration, secure parking).

“2. Communication & Management: Met Police have closed criminal cases as they have waited so long for L&Q to provide requested CCTV. Retail units are empty, communal damage is left unrepaired encouraging more ASB. Simple queries are left unanswered for years

“3. Poor Services: There are no SLAs on solving residents’ repairs; with cases left open for years with no progress. Or cases are closed without the repair being done. At the same time management fees have grown exponentially over time – over 700% increase in some cases.

“Managing agents like L&Q Group should not be allowed to get away with these practices with no accountability or recourse for the leaseholders and tenants.

In a response to EALING.NEWS, Matt Foreman, executive group director of customer services at L&Q said: “We understand the frustration felt by residents at Acton Gardens and we’re sorry that they’re unhappy with the service they’ve received. We will work with residents to address their concerns and find solutions to the issues raised.

“Service charges are included in the terms of residents’ leases and enable us to carry out important maintenance activities around the estate. We set ours at the start of each year, and where applicable, calculate actual costs at the end of the year.

“Service charges at Acton Gardens differ depending on the property in question. Whilst we are unable to comment on individual cases, a full breakdown of costs is available to residents on request.

L&Q also responded to specific comments that have been raised in our story. It said:

“We take the safety and security of our residents extremely seriously. We carry out monthly inspections of the lifts on the estate, and have recently brought a new contractor in to help us provide a more efficient maintenance service. Unfortunately when lifts do break down, it does take time to source parts and carry out repairs, and we appreciate this leads to inconvenience for residents.

“We aim to complete all repairs as quickly as we can, but if doors are not secured or there are access issues, we treat these as urgent. We know there are a number of doors which have been damaged recently and we apologise to the residents affected.”

“We have and will continue to cooperate with the police and provide CCTV footage on their request.”

EALING.NEWS has contacted Councillor Blacker for a comment

 

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