Published: 18 May, 2012
• RECENTLY a reader was complaining about Dr Brian Potter, who champions the leaseholders’ cause against the dubious conduct of Homes for Islington (HfI) (Letters, May 4).
I realise that these letters do not make easy reading. Be clear about one thing, reader: not all leaseholders are absentee landlords.
Thousands, like me, are Londoners on low income.
I realise this issue is difficult to understand but I would like to explain why I for one welcome Dr Potter’s letters.
Two years ago HfI carried out major works on my estate. At that time I had all but paid off my mortgage at the end of my career.
The bill I received for these major works was £12,500, another capital debt that will take years of repaying.
A major feature of these works was the installation of double-glazed windows.
I had been told at an HfI consultation that there was no choice as to which windows would be installed.
However, the type of frames to be installed was pointed out to me.
In fact, different window frames were installed in my flat.
My guess is that these particular pokey frames were left over from another job in Belarus or some such.
So much for the consultation: second-rate double-glazing at three to four times the actual cost for something I didn’t particularly need in the first place. My flat was cocooned in scaffolding for seven months or so, which is one way of ensuring costs were nicely inflated (the windows took a few hours to install).
The contractors damaged the plumbing in my block and after the works I had a water hammer that was extremely distressing and woke us up at night.
Getting this looked at took about 60 emails and more than a dozen phone calls over two years.
The standard of work on the estate is appalling and new paint is already peeling.
We look at this work ruefully and know that more lavish spending on this cheap work will be paid for by leaseholders.
HfI does not appear to be inspecting the work and contractors’ fees are absurdly inflated.
Recently, we asked for a copy of the contracts paid by HfI.
We were told these were secret documents and we could not make their contents public. Unbelievable.
If the conduct of HfI becomes a subject of scandal in the national press I would not be surprised but meanwhile I am extremely grateful that the Tribune opens its columns to letter writers like Dr Potter.
The reason I want my name excluded is that I have no trust in HfI and feel I may be subject to administrative reprisals.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED