Islington Council urges: 'Raise repairs before Partners hands back homes'

Islington Town Hall in Upper Street

Islington Town Hall in Upper Street - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

Islington Council is urging tenants of homes managed by housing association Partners for Improvement to raise damp or disrepair issues before the handback of thousands of properties to the Town Hall in April next year.

Partners, which has long been the topic of debate at Town Hall meetings over satisfaction rates of its residents, is required to carry out repairs ahead of the end of the 16-year contract.

A council survey has identified £466,000 worth of work to be done, but due to the pandemic access was only available to 1,254 of 2,778 properties - meaning the amount is likely to be far greater.

The value of these repairs will be held by the borough in a retention fund until all works are completed and signed off. The cost of any not completed by the time the council takes over will stay in the fund.

Programme manager Saf Khan said: “We wanted to get into as many basement flats as we possibly could, as we know there are concerns around damp - particularly in street properties.

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“Getting into those properties was the challenge. The pandemic did not help at all. We were hoping for much higher than 45 per cent, but 100 pc was always going to be a real challenge.”

Islington holds two contracts with Partners. While PFI 2 ends in April, PFI 1 is a 30-year contract ending in 2033.

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In the council survey, broken windows, damp and roofing issues account for 59 pc of problems, but surveyors also found cracked ceilings and walls, broken boilers, missing wash basins, damaged floors and front entrance doors.

Window-related works are the most common problem and will cost at least £70,535 in 270 homes, with windows missing restrictors, stays, locks, catches, handles and draught seals.

Damp was discovered in 265 homes, and Islington plans to hold on to its reimbursement cash for a couple of months after Partners make a repair job in this area, to make sure the problem does not recur.

Partners were approached for comment, but the council responded instead, stating: “Bringing these homes back under council management will allow the council to put customer satisfaction and quality service provision at the heart of repairs and maintenance."

A spokesperson for Partners said: "We encourage residents to report repairs as we have throughout the first 15 years of the PFI 2 contract including in every quarterly residents' newsletter.

"We're pleased that the housing scrutiny committee heard from the council's independent surveying consultant that the properties are being handed back to the council in better than average condition with among the lowest proportion of catch-up repairs they have ever seen." 

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