Sanctuary Housing repairs


Letter to Robert Goodwill MP from Sanctuary Housing Association tenants

Hello Mr Goodwill,

I hope you are well and I am sorry to contact you again about this shambolic company. I am writing to you to keep you updated with our situation and inform you of our intentions.

poundsignUKSanctuary have and are going back on their word regarding some of the improvements on our Estate. Sanctuary promised to spend £1,010,600 on the Estate for their 133 properties. After my partner and I had a meeting with Dennis Evans (National Director for Repairs) in November last year, we were led to believe that this was a starting point figure, and any improvements that needed doing on their housing stock would be done. However, numerous tenants have informed us that Sanctuary are changing the goal posts – no change there. Since the beginning of May, Sanctuary staff have been telling tenants that there isn’t any money left. Some tenants have had refurbishments done but Sanctuary tell tenants that there isn’t any money for things like lino floor coverings, thus failing in their obligations, and this being less than four months from the start of improvements.

The first of 6 rats caught

The first of 6 rats caught

People don’t want the earth Mr. Goodwill. They merely want their homes bringing up to a decent standard, a standard set by Government and a standard which Sanctuary are failing to meet by a country mile – not just here in Scarborough, but nationally too.

Please read the Tim Burness blog Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law? as you are mentioned favorably a couple of times and also your picture is posted.

With regards to the recent improvements, by our understanding, 60 to 70% have had problems in one form or another. From one tenant having to have their bathroom replaced 3 times because it had been installed wrongly, to a lady having to have half her garden dug up because of something a workman had put down the toilet, subsequently blocking the main drain.

bathroomMany, many people have had leaks and floods. When we have approached Ian Calver (who is in charge of the improvement program) on numerous occasions, he has said “People will have to except that this is always going to happen”. A statement that I find staggering and one which was repeated at the residents meeting. I contacted the Chartered Institute of Plumbers and Heating Engineers to ask their opinion, they too were staggered by those comments and stated if plumbers were to have many leaks during heir work, they wouldn’t be employed for very long.

bathroom 2Sanctuary are hiding under the banner of having multi-skilled operatives. However, the true facts are that the people that they are employing have little or no experience at all. Once again, this is happening nationwide. The people employed to do the moderization here are joiners, with the exception of one. When asked by tenants how things are going, one joiner said “Okay I think? We are learning as we go along.” It dosn’t project great confidence really, does it?

The Chartered Institute of Plumbers and Heating Engineers also stated that the minimum qualification level should be NVQ Level 3 with a minimum of 4 years experience before plumbers should be undertaking work unsupervised, and that we as tenants have a legal right not to let any workman without the proper qualifications into our home. So the question has to be asked – why do we have to have unqualified, untrained personnel working on our homes? What checks have Sanctuary put in place to make sure their personnel are up to scratch? None at all, judging by the catalogue of errors that we have found.

bathroom cupboard eaten throughThis also includes day to day maintenance staff as well. People have had issues with water stop valves installed upside down, stopping the flow of water when a directional arrow clearly showed which way it should have been installed, a water tank that had been installed with a toilet ball cock which wasn’t adequate (unqualified people messing about with people’s water supply isn’t at all good!), bare wires being left exposed, my family being hospitalised because of a multi-skilled operative treating internal timbers with creosote – even my 14 year old son knew you shouldn’t put a substance like that inside a dwelling.

A bunch of cowboys

A bunch of cowboys

I could go on and on about these issues, but the fact is, this is cowboy work by a cowboy company. They are more interested in empire building than bringing their existing stock up to the decent homes standard.

Simon Clark, Group Director, states there is 92% satisfaction with their tenants. I think he pulled these figures out of a black top hat along with a white rabbit and a string of handkerchiefs.

He also seems to be rather skilled at making complaints and problems magically disappear, perhaps he would be better suited to joining the Magic Circle than sitting on the board of Sanctuary Housing.

Last year we arranged a meeting specifically for Sanctuary tenants to air their views, the meeting was held at our local school. Sanctuary wanted to coincide the meeting with the Residents Association monthly meeting but we pointed out that the issues that tenants wanted to raise were of the solo concern of Sanctuary Housing and not the wider Estate. A meeting specifically for Sanctuary tenants was held and we had a follow up meeting, which was made specifically for Sanctuary tenants in November. At that meeting Sanctuary promised a follow up meeting for March – it didn’t happen. When I asked Sanctuary about it they failed to return my calls regarding the matter. I persisted to no avail, I was later tipped off that representatives of Sanctuary were to attend the Residents Association meeting in May to inform residents of progress.

Three Sanctuary tenants were present, and two of those were my partner and myself. No letters were posted to inform people of their intentions to be at the meeting. Sanctuary have fudged out yet again, stopping their tenants airing their views about failure to keep their promise of improvements and their failure to do work to a satisfactory level.

Our intention now is to go and ask the 133 Sanctuary tenants on our Estate a questionairre about service and confidence in the company. We will also be taking a petition round to ask for action to be taken against this cowboy company who have nothing but contempt for their tenants.

We will keep you posted.


About Tim
UK musician (pop/rock/prog), astrologer for 30 years (the deeper stuff), care and support worker #ExtinctionRebellion "We're all f***ed, so be nice." ~ Russell Brand

13 Responses to Sanctuary Housing repairs

  1. craig says:

    Nice to read Western Property Service’s web describing the £560,000 contract for the refurb of the Sanctuary owned and run, Winsor care home in Minehead, Somerset. A facility that accommodates 43 Residents in 33 single and 5 shared rooms, yes very nice. I guess this is where the rest of the promised £1,010.600 for the 133 properties on the Barrowcliff estate Scarborough has been spent as many of tenants who were told and promised improvement works haven’t had them. SANCTUARY CARE? Going by their standards in social housing I would urge everyone to stay well away of this company

  2. Tim says:

    An interesting take on the failed Cosmopolitan Housing Group and Sanctuary’s recent takeover:-

    “Lack of regulation contributed to the financial burden which resulted in harassment and abuse of tenants to cover up denial of repairs and gas servicing over an extended period that caused health and safety risks. Sanctuary has given no indication that it will address those issues and its officials have ignored correspondence which brought alleged criminal activity to their attention.

    Like all foxes, some Trust officials, councillors and regulators have gone to ground at the first sound of barking. The culprits have hidden or sequestered themselves from public view especially when news media have them under investigation. Sanctuary has continued the aura of secrecy supported by propaganda.”

    Lots more comment at

  3. Rachel Bindon says:

    My Mother lives as so called Sanctuary Housing in Potters Bar and has been waiting 18 months for this Disgrace of a company to fix the leaking roof. Finally they appeared yesterday. Oh yes,they said, it is all sorted now. Today My Mother is stressed out to see more water leaking into her flat ceiling! What a money making disgrace and treating Old people like this who deserve much better!

  4. Tim says:
    “A GREAT-grandmother has been living without heating in a property with asbestos for three months.

    But after the Oxford Mail contacted Sanctuary Housing about Maureen Cox’s bungalow in Charlbury Road, Kidlington, the boiler was fixed and the asbestos was cleared.

    The 76-year-old moved into the property on August 11 and discovered warning signs about asbestos in the attic.

    She informed the housing association but says nothing was done.”

    And Sanctuary’s millions continue to roll in.

  5. Tim says:

    Over the last two months, in local and national press:-

    1. “Just weeks later, the care watchdog sank its teeth in another housing association – 95,000-home Sanctuary Housing – following a catalogue of failings at Redhill Court, in Kings Norton on the edge of Birmingham. A report published on 14 November revealed that its care arm, Sanctuary Care, which owns and runs 60 care homes, had put residents ‘at risk of receiving unsafe care and treatment’ because of staff shortages.”

    2. “Father of disabled schoolboy told by housing officials that he can’t light his garden with Christmas decorations despite putting them up for the last eight years.”

    3. “Family plead to be moved from their ‘hell hole’ Sanctuary Housing home.”

    4. “Letter: ‘Moat Field’ not suitable for houses”

    “The site in question is an area of mostly scrubland described as the “moat field”, which is known by residents to be waterlogged for at least six months of the year, and is an officially designated flood zone… At the planning committee meeting at Ely on February 6, the applicant’s case was presented. A senior councillor, Derrick Bennett (Ind Isleham), stated that it was “disquieting to see the number of issues that had not been dealt with”, and put forward a motion for refusal – not recognised by the chairman. Despite a number of further dissenting opinions, there was a vote of six-five in favour of approval with conditions… Over the past eight months, I have written to East Cambridgeshire District Council’s senior planning officer, team leader, freedom of information officer, Cllr Beckett, the Local Ombudsman, the head of development for Sanctuary Group East, and our MP Sir Jim Paice. Villagers also sought a judicial review… The responses that I received (one did not reply) were either evasive, irrelevant, protective, or deliberately avoiding the significant points. The exception has been Sir Jim Paice who has been concerned, helpful and honest, stating: “There is no doubt in my mind that the application has been approved despite its conflict with stated planning policy. However, the council does have the right to do this, however odd”… What I have learned, during this period, from the Ombudsman, is that it is not illegal for the housing authority (in this case Sanctuary Housing) to consult with the district council with a view to side-stepping certain obstacles to planning permission, and to make payment for this service.”

    5. “Eight weeks of misery for family in ‘freezing cold’ home”

    6. “Northchurch pensioners asks: ‘why did security light repair take four months?’”

    7. “Woman’s three-year wait for house repairs”


  6. astrid says:

    I nearly committed suicide due to the stressful unhappy living conditions, my last complaint addressed this to sanctuary but instead of a relpy, I got a phone call 2 weeks later from my rents officer telling me to pay rent,I can’t belive these people are bulliying me in my state, I’m disgusted there could be people liike me feeling so low, but how low can you go, I’m gonna fight for my rights!

  7. Tim says:

    Recent news from from Croydon MP, Steve Reed:-

    Rosetta Court is a sheltered housing scheme for older people in Upper Norwood. Elderly residents have experienced a string of problems with their landlord, Sanctuary Housing. Complaints include soaring bills, shoddy repairs and maintenance, and they’ve been left without a live-in manager for just under a year. Many leaseholders felt enough was enough when Sanctuary issued them with bills for £15,000 each to repair a badly-maintained car park – more than many of the older and disabled residents can afford to pay. After repeated approaches to Sanctuary’s managers failed to get a response, residents asked local MP Steve Reed for help.

  8. Tim says:

    Perhaps someone from Sanctuary would like to comment here?

  9. Tim says:

    No comment from Sanctuary? Quelle surprise.

    There is now more than enough evidence on these blogs to show that Sanctuary Housing and Sanctuary Group as a whole have major problems and that many people are suffering as a result.



    1. The Homes And Communities Agency (the social housing regulator, mainly financial regulation)
    Email: Website:
    Postal address: Referrals and Regulatory Enquiries Team, Homes and Communities Agency, 1st Floor, Lateral, 8 City Walk, Leeds LS11 9AT

    “Thank you for your letter, sent to the Homes And Communities Agency and other organisations, containing a number of allegations about Sanctuary Housing Association… (We have) now considered the information you have provided and would like to invite you or others who have experienced difficulties to provide us with further information.” Carole Harrison, Referrals and Regulatory Enquiries Team, Homes and Communities Agency, 28.10.13

    2. Margaret Hodge MP and the Public Accounts Committee
    Email: Website:
    Postal address: Committee of Public Accounts, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA

    “My committee retains a strong interest in how the system of social housing provision as a whole is operating and I am grateful for the information you have provided… thank you for drawing these matters to my attention.” Margaret Hodge, Public Accounts Committee, 6.12.13

    Please contact both of the above with a carefully written letter by post.

    These blogs are now getting 150-200 views most days, this needs to be translated into action.

    Thank you.

  10. Tim says:

    Facebook groups and pages for discussion, information and practical help – run by tenants and others who have suffered appalling treatment from Sanctuary – YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

    Sanctuary Housing complaints group countrywide

    Sanctuary Housing tenants

    Sanctuary Housing/shambles

    Sanctuary Housing Banbury residents group

    Justice For Ernest John Coles

  11. Tim says:

    The following facebook group has been very active over the last 9 months or so, it now has 500 members. Plenty of support available there, endless ideas for how to TAKE ACTION. Run by tenants for tenants who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary.

    Sanctuary Housing Complaints Group – Countrywide

  12. Tracy Grainger says:

    Totally agree with the above. The only way I got the massive damp issues, 140+ year old roof which was too dangerous for a roofer to get on to inspect and uninsulated porous solid construction walls sorted to name a few of the issues with my home was to make an official complaint and take it all the way to housing ombudsmen (the latter became unnecessary once sanctuary realised I meant business). Sanctuary are a joke. As landlords they couldn’t give a rats left testicle about its tenents as long as we keep paying the rent. About time the powers that be stepped in and sorted them out by any means necessary.

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