Council tenants in Brent face 40-year wait for new kitchens and bathrooms

Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala with Brenda Linton chair of the St Raphael's Estate Residents Association

Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala with Brenda Linton chair of the St Raphael's Estate Residents Association - Credit: Archant

Stonebridge councillor blames the government for delays to vital upgrades

Thousands of council managed homes in the borough could go almost 40-years without vital upgrades being made to them to ensure tenants have a decent standard of living.

According to a report compiled by Brent Housing Partnership (BHP), which owns around 9,000 homes in the borough, its tenants could be made to wait up to 30 years for new kitchens, 40 years for new bathrooms and 37 years for new fences if they are identified as needing repairs. Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala, a Stonebridge ward councillor, has put the delays down to a governmental failure to invest properly in the Decent Homes (DH) programme, an initiative set-up to ensure all social housing met a minimum standard of decency.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government (CGLC) the capital has been given £820m to spend on bringing homes up to a decent standard. However, this falls well below the £2.6bn recommendation from London Councils, a government lobbying organisation on behalf of all London local authorities.

Cllr Van Kalwala told the Times: “The Government has once again failed to get a grip on housing.

“It has already failed to build enough new homes for places like Brent and is now failing to support councils to maintain their properties.”

Brenda Linton, chair of the tenants association for the St Raphael’s Estate, in Neasden, which has around 2,000 council owned properties, said: “It is too long to wait for people, I know times are difficult but problems like these need to fixed straight away so people can have a decent standard of living.

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“Lots of people have difficulties with their properties because some are quite old and not fitted adequately first time.”

Cllr Van Kalwala added: “The government needs to ensure all local residents have access to a decent level of housing and accommodation.”

However, a spokesman for the DCLG claimed the figure from London Councils was outdated and did not take account of the reforms made in April last year giving councils full control over how they spend their rental income.

He added: “Since 2010 we’ve made £1.6billion available on top of this for councils to tackle their backlog of repairs, more than half of which has gone to London authorities.”