London

Housing group Circle Anglia Limited 'failing' tenants in some London homes

Owen Francis (left) and Saffron Coleman
Image caption Owen Francis said his home provided by Circle 33 was not suitable for his medical needs

A housing group has been failing to meet standards in some of its homes in London, a government regulator has said.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is considering taking action against Circle Anglia Limited (CA) amid concerns over serious disrepair at some of the group's properties.

The HCA said there was the potential for "serious detriment" to CA tenants.

CA said they had been "experiencing difficulties" with repairs contracts.

'Chronic difficulties'

Council and housing association homes are required to meet the Decent Home Standard, meaning properties should be in a reasonable state of repair and meet minimum safety standards for housing.

In a Regulatory Notice, the HCA said there were "chronic and long-standing difficulties" in the delivery of the repairs service to 13,000 homes in the London area covered by Circle 33 and Old Ford Housing Association, which are part of CA.

Over a period of three months in Circle 33's 8,000 homes, less than 20% of urgent and emergency repairs were completed on time, the HCA said.

Owen Francis, who lives in Romford in a property provided by Circle 33, said he had numerous problems with the housing association's homes, including damp and an electrical problem that broke his kitchen appliances.

Image caption Owen Francis said an electrical problem broke his kitchen cooker

"This is not how people get treated," he said.

"I have got a cooker near enough a week and it still cannot work, I have a rare form of genetic diabetes meaning I have to eat proper food every two hours, and I cannot do that when I am at Circle."

Islington Council also told BBC London 94.9 it had issued eight statutory notices to CA since January, which required the association to make repairs within a certain timescale or face prosecution.

Christopher Smith, from Circle 33, said: "We had been experiencing difficulties with our new repairs and maintenance contracts and systems in parts of London, and we apologise unreservedly to residents like Mr Francis for the impact it has had on them.

"We would like to reassure residents that we have a comprehensive plan in place, and along with our contractors are dealing with all outstanding cases, improving our systems, and bringing our services back up to an acceptable standard."

He said Mr Francis had been offered compensation and the firm was working to resolve the issues at his home.

CA also announced an end to a contract with Kier, which provides maintenance for some of Circle Housing's homes.

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