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Partners for Improvement in Islington treats tenants ‘appallingly’ and has no accountability, councillor claims

PUBLISHED: 14:08 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 27 February 2020

Poet's Road. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

Poet's Road. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

Archant

A councillor claims a private consortium managing and maintaining thousands of Islington properties has “no accountability” and treats tenants “appallingly”.

Poet's Road. Picture: Lucas CumiskeyPoet's Road. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

Cllr Jenny Kay spoke out after Partners for Improvement in Islington allegedly failed to carry out essential works in a constituent's property for more than 18-months, despite the leaseholder's repeated requests for help and the impact it's had on her mental health. Partners manages more than 6,000 properties in the borough via two public finance initiative deals, the second of which, PFI 2, runs out in April next year.

The leaseholder, Lucy, lives in a PFI 2 property in Poet's Road which she bought three years ago.

She told the Gazette: "The building is in a real state of disrepair, the cyclical works have been scheduled since before I brought the property but still haven't happened. The windows are mouldy, rotting - they're actually breaking apart. And the paint work is desperate, broken asphalt is on the steps."

Lucy lives on the ground floor and says inadequate sound proofing means she's constantly disturbed - and wears earplugs when trying to sleep.

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But a Partners spokesperson said: "We are taking court action for the sixth time against a tenant in the property to secure access to complete repairs. We remain focused on resolving the problem for [Lucy] as quickly as the legal process will allow."

Islington Council is consulting on whether to bring the 4,042 homes covered by PF1 2 back in-house when the deal expires. Partners' chief exec Tom Irvine is due to appear before the housing scrutiny committee on Tuesday next week.

Cllr Jenny Kay (Lab, Mildmay) said Lucy's case is not unique and that the situation is "incredibly frustrating".

She said: "This is how they (Partners) treat someone who is very able. Imagine what it's like for someone more vulnerable or for whom English isn't a first language. It is a scandal."

She added: "For six years I have tried to work constructively with PFI. But the idea that we are their partners is a joke. Their decision-making is opaque, there is no accountability and the their treatment of residents appalling. It's not just a few bad apples it's serious cultural problem in the organisation."

Partners says it meets with the council at least twice a month for performance reviews, and its commitment to transparency and partnership means it reports a range of performance information and resident feedback.


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