The tenants’ dilemma: how to get any home repairs done
01 December, 2017
• MY heart goes out to Laura Wilson (Are these storage heaters slowly poisoning people? November 24). I too am a Circle 33 tenant and can corroborate how bad they have become at responding to communications from their tenants, or “customers” – we who pay their salaries through our rent.
When I first moved into this flat, nearly 30 years ago, they were reasonably efficient and prompt at dealing with repairs and inquiries; certainly, they compared favourably with Camden Council, my previous landlord.
Even seven years ago, when I endured a whole summer of building work, from May to September, in the name of “improvements”, Circle was reasonably okay. The problems I had were with some of the contractors.
But for the last two years it seems to have become impossible to communicate with a member of staff who can get anything done, whether it is the exterior painting of windows, or fixing a non-functioning heating system, or indeed anything else.
You have to ring a call centre, where it is luck whether or not you get through to someone who knows what they are talking about and is capable of understanding what your problem is. Some of them are efficient and helpful, but even when they are, they cannot organise the repair or whatever it is you need.
You can’t find out the email address of the relevant person. If they do answer the phone or ring you back they may be unintelligible (now I am getting old I am hearing impaired and even with my hearing aids in I can’t always understand rapid or accented speech on the phone).
They make promises but they are not kept. I know I am not the only one of Circle’s tenants to have these problems.
Laura’s problem sounds really serious, so she may have more luck. But even a matter of life and death, such as a poisonous heating system, may not be enough to get Circle to respond in an effective way. I hope her approaches to politicians will bear fruit.
I think we need a proper investigation into the running of housing associations, which after all are charities supposed to look after their tenants. It is not just Circle, or whatever they call themselves nowadays.
The best of British luck, Laura!
Huddleston Road, N7