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More Southall residents go on “rent and service charge strike” against UK’s largest housing association Clarion

More residents in Southall have told their housing association Clarion, that they will be partially withholding payments in their rent and service charges following an ongoing dispute over health and safety, lack of services provided, increase in charges and lack of transparency on what they pay for.

This follows more than 70 residents living in nearby Bravey House and Newell House, highlighting their concerns and going “on strike” by withholding some of their rent and service charge payments.

The strikers, who live in Doniford House near to Southall station, are being supported in their action by Social Housing Action Campaign (SHAC)

Clarion is the UK’s largest housing association and says it owns and manages 125,000 homes with 360,000 residents living in them.

Tenants and residents of at least 24 households in Doniford House are withholding payment from their landlord, Clarion, and their managing agent, First Port.

They have been raising concerns over repairs and maintenance and say they are ignored. Among the issues is lack of security on their development which includes internal doors between blocks not being locked properly allowing people to walk into buildings.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, one striking resident said: “Clarion are absolutely diabolical. Bin collections are awful. Doors do not lock no more so anyone can get into the building, hence the stair case. Leaks that have been ongoing since last year.  We’ve been on at Clarion for months and months and months with the issues and nothing has been done.”

The locals also have raised concerns over anti-social behaviour going on including drug taking, spitting on floors, breaking lifts and threatening people.

One resident added: “All of this has been reported to police and Clarion. Clarion have blamed us, saying we’re leaving doors open and letting strangers in. It’s insulting.”

Health and safety has also been another issue with a fire vent on the top floor of the building stuck open for many weeks and eventually it broke off during a storm,

The residents also raised concerns that there was no holiday cover when a caretaker went on annual leave. They claim that the managing agents First Port. did not provide holiday cover, resulting in a build up of waste which was then infested with maggots during a heatwave.

Secretary of The Social Housing Action Campaign (SHAC) Suzanne Muna, who is supporting the resident said: “Conditions on the estate are shameful, and we worry that someone will suffer serious harm because of lax security, bio-hazards or fire. It seems that these landlords will only respond when there’s a major incident, and then behave as though it’s news to them that conditions have deteriorated so badly.

“In this case, residents have done everything in their power to get things fixed through the official channels. Their strike is the result of a total lack of engagement by Clarion and FirstPort. These organisations are not fit to take charge of peoples’ homes.”

A spokesperson for Clarion told EALING.NEWS: “We are taking the issues raised by residents regarding maintenance of the communal areas very seriously and have been seeking urgent clarification from the managing agent, whose responsibility it is to maintain these areas, as well as the freeholder of the building who appointed them.”

They added: “We will continue to keep residents updated as we progress and would like to offer reassurance that we are taking all possible action on their behalf to ensure the maintenance issues are resolved and their service charge queries are answered.”

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