I am a leaseholder to Hammersmith Council and we bought our flat from private owners in 2007 on the understanding then that the building was due for major works to the outside of the house, the roof, and the interior common parts, which were in bad disrepair. The repairs were to be done by the council, who own the common parts to the house, which has three flats in it.
Since then the house is in even greater disrepair. In fact, four years ago we made an insurance claim to have a room repainted because of leaking and damage through the ceiling, which the council has paid for).
The Council, even after numerous letters of complaint from us, have failed to renovate the house and we are suffering further damage to the paintwork on the interior because of leaking etc. They have on at least four occasions over the past 8 years said we were due for major repairs within a time frame which has then not been fulfilled.
The last time was in spring 2014, when our building was inspected by a Contract Manager from the Council, accompanied by staff from Mitie, their major works contractor, and we were told that the work was now imminent, and that we could expect it to start during the summer of 2014. At the end of October 2014, staff from Faithful & Gould surveyed the rear windows of our flat, suggesting that something is moving forward, but they could provide no details. When we wrote in December 2014 to enquire, we were told the works were definitely scheduled to take place between January and August 2015. We do have this affirmation in writing.
Furthermore, this May 2015, we received a visit from a council representative who inspected the interior common parts and said there were fire hazards there and they needed to be renovated for safety reasons. But as before we have heard nothing subsequently.
We are moving rapidly towards August and there is absolutely no indication that any repairs will be made. We are now very anxious about the upcoming winter, and angry about the Council’s disregard for our home. If nothing is done we will be going into another winter with our window frames are rotting, our windows rattling, the plaster on the façade of the building (not to mention the paint) falling off, the roof leaking, there ongoing water damage to both our sitting room and bedroom (not for the first time). Other ills are that the hallway in the common part of the building is a mess and the light switches in it do not work, the downstairs flats have no buzzers (thus we get buzzed – and interrupted – by delivery and other services for them).
As we own one of the three flats in the building we are liable for a third of the repair fees which we are happy to pay. But the council is apparently responsible for organising the repairs themselves.
Please can you advise us of our rights in this case Does this behaviour on the part of the council merit legal action against the council and what kind of approach do you advise us to take, given there have been 8 years of empty promises and delays? I do look forward to hearing from you soon, Katy Emck