Alperton community rails against Notting Hill Genesis housing’s response to ill pensioner
- Credit: Archant
A gravely ill pensioner whose life was saved when police broke down her door was ordered by her landlord to get it repaired – even though she was in hospital.
Now 82-year-old Claire Nolan’s own neighbours have clubbed together to cover the cost, but believe their “callous” housing association should bear responsibility.
Ms Nolan collapsed in her shared-ownership flat at Anne Carver Lodge in Stanley Avenue on August 1.
Police, alerted by social services, forced open her door after looking through her letter box and seeing her motionless on the floor.
But despite her desperate situation, landlord Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) Housing Association refused to fix her door, telling her concerned neighbours it was the pensioner’s responsibility.
The leaseholders, most of whom have a shared ownership arrangement with the housing association, said it’s an example of how badly they are all treated – whether its confusion over service charge hikes, installing scaffolding to deal with a leak that was reported two years ago, or disregarding safety fire policy.
One resident, who lives in one of the 30 flats within the three storey block, wrote to building insurers to determine who was responsible for Ms Nolan’s door. She said: “NHG point blank refused to arrange the repair or replacement of Claire’s door and told the police that she had to arrange the repair herself. This is despite them knowing her age and that she was in a bad way and taken by ambulance to hospital.”
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And she claimed: “They stated that it was not their responsibility which in fact it is. The door is part of the fabric of the building and is as such covered by their buildings insurance so they had a duty arrange this repair. We’ve been having many issues with NHG but this is just callous.”
She explained how they have all seen the charges for cyclical work on the estate – such as structural changes, painting or replacing windows – “increased by 800 per cent”. And she said the residents association has been going “back and forth” arguing costs.
The latest work is scaffolding that appeared on one side of the building on July 16, to repair a leak in a flat reported more than two years ago.
Hitesh Sangtani, whose home is affected by the scaffolding, said to date no one had appeared to do any work. He said: “I’m going to make a formal complaint about this. The last two weeks of July were very hot and the way they’ve mounted the metal beams, we could only open the window a fraction. My 70-year-old mother is suffering with the heat and also with the fear that a burglar might attempt to climb it and break into her room.
“At first we thought the scaffolding was part of cyclical work which is due to happen soon, but it’s independent of that. So why do this work now? When we will be charged again?”
Shelley Marcia added: “Service charges are always a problem. They are never accurate, always an estimate, so at the end of the year you get a letter saying you are in arrears, so you have to go back to them and the whole thing is very stressful – very, very stressful.”
As for Ms Nolan’s door, her neighbours paid for the door to be replaced and hope to be reimbursed by NHG.
Her brother Joe Nolan flew from New York after being called by UK police officers and alerted to his sister’s condition.
The 80-year-old said: “She’s not well. The hospital wish to move her to a rehabilitation home but she’s very, very weak. From my understand NHG has the responsibility to respond, especially when it’s an emergency as happened to my sister. They were really unconcerned about what was transpiring. To think police were making the request. There should be no question when police contacts the housing association for assistance, there should be an immediate response.
“That was disgraceful. I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else in future.”
He added: “The police were extremely courteous, civil and very concerned about my sister and very professional in their work. My wife and I really appreciated the kindness that has been offered by her neighbours who showed real concern. In this building the community should be fostered, not disregarded.”
A NHG spokesman said: “The upkeep of front doors is generally the responsibility of leaseholders, as set out in their lease, though our checks have shown that is not the case at Anne Carver Lodge. However, in these particular circumstances discretion should have been used regardless and the door repaired by us immediately. We thank the resident’s neighbours for their generous response and will of course reimburse them.” There was no comment on the other issues