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HOUSING SERVICE - One Housing make major changes to frontline services without consultation with affected tenants

2019 June / July

Just wish we could tell you exactly whats going on and what services we can now expect on our estates.

We have been trying to get written information from One Housing on all these changes since they implemented them in June 2019

One Housing have not provided monthly estate inspections for 7 months since the new "Property Management" department took over from the Housing Officers of the Housing department in providing and conducting estate inspections. Property Management have also taken down the 2019 estate inspections schedules that were on our notice boards.

Monthly Estate Inspections, with an advance yearly schedule put on estate notice boards, to enable tenants to attend, are a legal right and a One Housing policy

I quote the new department manager, who has since left One Housing:

5th July 2019

"I just want to take this time to formally outline the responsibilities of the new Property Manager role and how this service will look going forward and what you can expect from our team.

I would like to begin by ensuring that your June inspection was carried out by the Property Manager for the estate and we will continue to inspect the estate on a monthly basis. This inspection was carried out on the 17th June. Hannah will also be attending the walkabout on the 18th July and this will form part of her inspection for July. She does not have the capacity to visit the site routinely multiple times a month to conduct full estate inspections as she manages a number of properties in the area and must visit each of these on a monthly basis. On the 18th, she will be happy to discuss an estate inspection schedule that works for both of you and is sustainable.

As I mentioned when we met last month, the Property Managers will not be office based and will spend the majority of their time on site. As such you need to report any repairs that you notice through or via our 0300 123 9966 number. This means that the repair gets raised through the correct channels and does not rely on particular individuals being available in the office. Property Managers are not the first point of contact for residents in relation to repairs, ASB or tenancy issues. Having an office bases Customer Service Centre and Resident Management team means that residents can be confident that they will be able to reach someone who can help them when they contact us using these above details.

In response to the number of outstanding repairs you have outlined, I am sure you can appreciate that the Property Managers have only been in post for 4 weeks. During this time they have been picking up on both new and outstanding issues across their patches.

As it stands, Hannah can review the outstanding issues that you have noted and can discuss these further with you on the 18th. You will also be able to physically point out the issues that you have raised in relation to the strength of the doors at the lobby and the bin store. Hannah can also ensure that the noticeboards across Oval Road/Gilbeys Yard are updated with the new contact information. This role has been created to ensure that we are looking at our buildings and estates in a holistic way and so that we can ensure that issues on site are followed up with our specialist teams to ensure these are resolved.

I appreciate your frustrations however the changes I have outlined above are to ensure that we are able to offer the best possible service to our residents, with the safety and security of our residents being the primary focus of the Property Management team. As a valued customer of One Housing I do hope you will see an improvement as the new structure is implemented and we look forward to working with you as these changes take place.

I hope this gives you some clarity and some assurance that your concerns have been raised with the appropriate teams.

Kind Regards,

Holly O’Callaghan

Senior Property Manager"

Here is what the Property Management Officer allocated to our estates has to say:

"With regards to the One Housing’s Internal changes One Housing Group is committed to making continued improvements to the services which we provide to our residents. Following on from residents feedback and following approval from the boards (of which OHG residents sit on) we are pleased to implementing change with the sole focus on improving the customer services for our residents.

We appreciate that in the past queries got lost and there were some communications issues. To resolve this we have done a number of things.

  1. Consolidated 46 customer facing inboxes to the 1 customer facing inbox ASK so that queries are not lost and there is a clear tracking of the query. This also means that there is clear accountability as the query goes directly to the team who is responsible, as opposed to the previous method of residents being passed from pillar to post. This will also ensure repairs are picked up quicker as these queries often got lost or delayed when incorrectly addressed to the HOs or HOAs

  2. Split the HO and HOA functions and responsibilities in half creating 2 new departments. Resident Management and Property Management.

  3. The Resident Management team will be mostly office based and responsible for any tenancy and home ownership related procedures. There are several tears and within resident management who will handle different queries depending on the complexity of the case.

  4. Property Management will focus on building compliancy and the welfare of the building. Property managers will mostly be site based providing a proactive approach as they will be continually inspecting the block. Their assistants will be office based to action the PMs inspections and to answer any queries which come from ASK.

As you will appreciate the above is quite a lot of change in a small space of time. This means that it will take time to settle whilst outstanding queries are being addressed. However, we envision that once things have settled and remits have fully been established that residents should see queries been resolved at a quicker pace.

I hope this helps to clarify your query

Kind regards

Hannah Simpson

Property Manager

T: 0300 123 9966


Suttons Wharf South, 44 Palmers Road, London, E2 0TA"

'No one calls the housing association repairs line. There's no point'

Tue 11 Apr 2017 11.01 BSTLast modified on Tue 28 Nov 2017 02.13 GMT

Victoria Musguin says she has suffered flooding and loss of hot water for weeks at a time at her newly built flat

Victoria Musguin is a member of a social tribe at the heart of London’s mounting housing scandals: young professionals living in shared ownership properties in which housing associations retain a stake.

Musguin, 31, is a freelance film-maker who lives in Suttons Wharf North, a new development in Mile End, east London. The housing was commissioned and is run by One Housing Group, which oversees more than 15,000 homes in the capital and its surrounding counties. Close by is Suttons Wharf South, completed in 2009. Together, the two developments have benefited from £32m of Greater London Authority grants.

“We had problems from day one,” says Musguin, whose flat was built in 2012. “When we moved in, we turned on the taps in the kitchen sink and water flooded everywhere, including into the flat below us. And the boiler went almost immediately. We’d be without hot water for two, three weeks at a time. At one point, three flats would give each other their kettles so we could run ourselves a bath.”

At Suttons Wharf, residents say hot water outages remain a big issue, made worse by One Housing’s poor customer service. The housing association says it is aware of such outages, and is spending £150,000 “as we continue to work to resolve them”.

At a recent residents’ meeting which the Guardian attended, other issues raised included poor cleaning standards, wildly varying service charges, and an infestation of moths in one block, which was damaging people’s clothes and carpets. Over the Christmas period of 2015, one block was left without its main front door for a week, which meant that it was open to intruders.

At Suttons Wharf South, though One Housing claims that the association is not aware of any “outstanding reported defects”, the vice-chair of the residents’ association, Taz Kha’lique, says he and other residents have suffered an even bigger range of problems, including complete outages of hot and cold water; plug sockets and phone points with no wiring behind them, and incoming moisture because of faulty seals on windows.

Gabriela Boeing, who has lived in a shared-ownership fifth-floor flat in the same development for nearly six years, says as well as issues with leaking water, she and other residents have had longstanding problems with mice. She initially called in a pest control company who told her the creatures were getting into her flat through a “a big hole in the kitchen that they said was because of bad construction”.

In 2013, she received an email from One Housing’s home ownership adviser claiming : “I have had had no other complaints regarding mice at Suttons Wharf South.” Boeing says she knew of at least two other residents who had raised the same problem, which reflects a common theme in a lot of residents’ accounts: One Housing allegedly responding to complaints by claiming they are unique to a particular flat and therefore the resident’s responsibility, when residents know the issues in question are being widely experienced.

One Housing did not directly answer this point, but told the Guardian “we have robust structures in place to monitor incoming reports and complaints ”.

Musguin strikes a rather different tone. “No one calls the repairs line now,” she says. “There’s no point.”