When fellow blogger Marmoset recently posted grumpily about the shenanigans going on in his flat at the hands of the team who had come to bless him with a new kitchen, bathroom and toilet – and unbeknownst to him, a new boiler, radiators and a total rewiring of his electrics – no one took much notice except one commenter who persisistently called him ungrateful.
Given that the whole estate is undergoing renovations of tenants' flats, and everyone is affected by the noise, dust and dirt, whether they are having the work done or not, it seemed appropriate to post again, and to move away, very slightly, from Marmoset's personal viewpoint, however relevant.
We had warnings from those on other estates where MITIE has already been working, but in appreciation of the seemingly long term benefit on offer to tenants, we didn't want to rock the boat too soon by blogging about their mistakes, which were almost immediate, but nothing worth shouting about and easily solved. The complaints we heard from other estates were pretty general, but it was interesting to note that nothing seemed to improve, as MITIE moved from one estate to another:
• MITIE left trade waste all over the place and never cleaned up after themselves properly
• MITIE workers took residents' parking spaces
• MITIE workers themselves left rubbish all over the place
• MITIE never came back to make good things that weren't properly completed
On Crossfields, nothing really prepared any of us for what might happen here on a personal level. For starters, no leaseholders were informed of the impending works, that's only 50% of the estate, but fuck 'em, eh. The estate is a building site and no one is immune. Endless noise all day, and shitloads of dust trampled up and down the stairs and into everyone's homes (of course the stairs aren't washed daily), trade waste left all over the place and workers littering the place.
With the exception of Marmoset, it appears completely traumatised tenants are behaving like grateful prizewinners (it's all free!) and refusing to complain. "Get Lucky" must be their theme tune for our non-summer.
• the new loos, even though they flush better, are placed three inches nearer the radiator, so that it's actually difficult for anyone over 5'8" to sit on the loo
• you have to sign a disclaimer to say MITIE can damage anything you want to keep (such as a personally tiled floor)
• MITIE workers can drill all the way through the flat next door into your flat (see above)
• MITIE workers can borrow your extension leads, mess about with your electric appliances, turn off your phone, fridge, cooker etc without telling you
• MITIE workers can disconnect anything they like and not reconnect it at the end of the day
• MITIE can give you a new boiler but not tell you how to work it
• MITIE can use your personal mail as a means to inform other workers of your address and leave the mail out on the balcony in the wind
• British MITIE workers grumble all the time about the foreign workers but bunk off the job never to be seen again
• MITIE workers finish work in your flat at the end of the day, leaving the front door open
Given the travesties afoot, one wonders what security measures are built into the contract.
If you'd like to add to this litany, please do – by commenting below, or emailing us – crosswhatfields(at)gmail(dot)com. We hoped this wouldn't be the case, but it is. The other estates that have had work done do not have the privilege of a blog, which maybe why similar complaints have not been aired previously.
Please do not comment on how council tenants are privileged to have this work done, since this lets bad work off the hook, and stops Lewisham Homes from penalising the contractors, if indeed, any contract penalties are in place.
And anyway, this is merely an upgrading of stock at the tax-payers' expense before the whole bloody thing is privatised.
Meanwhile and even after privatisation, tenants now have the Right To Buy at discounts up to £100,000 – as the Department for Communities and Local Government have persistently reminded all residents over the past two weeks with their duplicate drop-mails through our letterboxes.
Such is the Tory government's policy to deal with the housing crisis.