A South London housing group missed opportunities to prevent its home from falling into poor condition, a leaked report has claimed.
The investigation, seen by Inside Housing , found Clairon Housing, had been “too reliant on residents reporting issues and chasing [it] to ensure the work was done”.
Clarion Housing has been the subject of numerous investigations – and was described as a “slum” estate where bathrooms were “riddled with slugs” and residents found it hard to breathe in corridors.
As a result of the report, the landlord will introduce a proactive “inspection regime” to monitor the condition of the estate’s 466 homes to avoid issues repeating themselves.
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The “poorly designed” buildings that make up the estate, described as being “near the end of their life”, are set to be demolished and replaced with new builds as part of a regeneration programme, the report states.
Clairon had cut planned investment to the estate after it was decided the buildings would be knocked down, meaning faulty kitchens, bathrooms and other facilities “were not in an acceptable condition”.
The report added: “The process of regeneration is complex and expensive, and would not be expected to happen quickly. Nonetheless, the programme has taken significantly longer than expected to progress.
“There were several opportunities to consider what additional steps may have been needed to maintain our homes.
“However, these opportunities were missed, which left some homes to fall below the standard we expect.”
Clare Miller, chief executive of Clarion, told Inside Housing that they “would have managed to avoid some of the worst of this” had they taken the opportunity “to change [their] approach” earlier.
(Image: Phil Harris)
Clairon was cleared of a standard breach by the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) and issued an apology to residents.
However, Fiona MacGregor, chief executive of the RSH, said she was disappointed to see the poor conditions for tenants, adding there was “no denying the level of shock” following an investigation by ITV.
From August 2021, Cairon sent 15,000 letters a week to residents with updates on the progress of housing repairs.
The housing estate has retained the highest possible regulatory grading following the regulator’s decision.
In June 2021, a MyLondon investigation found residents of Clairon properties regularly faced issues with vermin, cockroach infestations, slugs in bathrooms and huge rats in communal areas.
In one property, filthy underwear could be seen lying in broken sections of the wall and the black mould stains on the outside of the building were so bad our photographer thought there had been a fire.
Residents said they felt like they were living in “slums” that would “fail almost every health and safety standard“.
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Meanwhile, Ms Miller earned a staggering £343,375 in 2019/2020.
Clairon’s chief operating officer, Michelle Reynolds, later admitted she would not be happy to live in some of the shocking conditions that have been exposed.
She said: “I think just to reiterate, we absolutely do stock condition surveys and that is of each block and each of the homes.
(Image: Phil Harris)
“Through our regeneration team, we will be meeting with individual residents and understanding their household needs.
“One of the areas that is key is that a number of our residents on the Eastfields Estate are overcrowded and there is the desperate need to regenerate this estate to ensure that they are adequately housed in modern efficient homes is our priority.”
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