Deaths, incompetence and lies – the multimillion pound housing associations destroying lives

UK’s housing associations made record operating profits of £3.5 billion in 2017

Change must happen, this is madness.

Housing organizations with charity status are badly damaging thousands of people’s lives.

Some great work is still being done by large UK housing associations but they are now too big and too greedy to function properly. They are accountable to no-one, the regulators are a joke and have been for years. In one way or another, many thousands (most likely tens or hundreds of thousands of people) are being shat on.

This is a crisis and the government is doing nothing. 

Post-Grenfell, the government published a social housing Green Paper in August 2018, which suggested many moves in the right direction. So far, almost none of this has been translated into action.

The mainstream media are not reporting it.

Apart from a few articles here and there (others below), the mainstream media continues to ignore how bad things now are with large housing associations and their outsourced companies, even after the Grenfell Tower social housing tragedy. The big housebuilding HAs have become property developers with a lot of old and crumbling anti-social housing on the side.

New Landlords From Hell, Dispatches Channel 4, March 2019

Link to programme https://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/on-demand/69156-001

Sanctuary Group, £198 million operating profit and in the region of £3 billion assets

Many social housing campaigners thought that a breakthrough moment may finally have come with the shocking evidence against Sanctuary Housing (one of the biggest and worst) presented on Dispatches, Channel 4, 22nd March 2019. Please see for yourself how bad things have got or search for easily found video clips. Sanctuary Housing Group continue to describe themselves as “One of the UK’s leading providers of housing, care and commercial services…” Leading providers? 

Immediately after the programme, Sanctuary Chief Executive Craig Moule’s responded to the allegation that Sanctuary appeared to have played a part in both the death of a pensioner and the development of a severe respiratory condition in a baby. “When anyone calls our values into question, it hurts.” Values!? This is about people’s lives.

Sanctuary Chief Executive Craig Moule, in denial and on over £350,000 per year

Without any reference to people’s considerable suffering (cases in Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire, Cornwall and Aberdeen), Moule then went on to laughably attempt to discredit the programme makers. “It struck us how little the programme makers knew about how housing associations work. It also struck us that they seemed to misunderstand our purpose.” Yet he made no effort to explain what he means by this, let alone present any evidence to support his view. Unfortunately, many folk in the Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide (2300+ members) can immediately recognize this style of communication from Sanctuary Housing. Clueless, dishonest and completely lacking in compassion. Come on Craig and Sanctuary, what’s wrong with you? Do you actually want to appear inhuman!?

Astonishingly, the Regulator of Social Housing found ‘no breaches of standards’ by Sanctuary (Inside Housing, 26.6.19). The shameless denial, corruption and establishment cover-up is breathtaking. 

Patricia Gavighan, died after 11-day boiler repair wait

Pensioner dies in freezing home

A ‘stressed, angry and cold’ pensioner died of a heart attack following an 11-day wait for her boiler to be repaired, an inquest has heard. Patricia Gavaghan, 80, died at her home, which was maintained by Morgan Sindall, in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, on 22 December 2017. She asked a call handler at the firm if she was “meant to sit in her coat” and wait, the court was told. At the time there was an amber weather warning due to a prolonged cold spell. The hearing at Huntingdon Law Courts was told Mrs Gavaghan lived alone in Sycamore Road, in a bungalow owned by Clarion Housing and maintained by Morgan Sindall. Her family claimed the boiler system was more than 15 years old and engineers struggled to get parts to make repairs.” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-49743535

There is a growing independent facebook complaints group for Clarion tenants (1700+ members) Clarion Tenants Support Group

5-year old girl dies in broken lift

Alexys Brown, died in a broken lift

“Two companies have been fined a total of £1.5m following the death of a five-year-old girl in a disability lift. Alexys Brown died in hospital after putting her head through a broken screen in the lift at her home in Weymouth on 13 August 2015. Synergy Housing (a subsidiary of Aster Group), her family’s landlord, was fined £1m and lift company Orona Ltd was fined £533,000. Both firms pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations by failing to maintain the lift properly. At the end of the two-day hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court, Judge Stephen Climie described Alexys as “beautiful” and “priceless” and said no words of the court could ever compensate her family for their loss.” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-46874763

Undiscovered dead bodies in sheltered accommodation

“Two dead bodies are claimed to have lain undiscovered in a retirement scheme for months, sparking complaints about “callous” cuts to care support. Neighbours have urged Suffolk County Council to reinstate funding for wardens and sheltered accommodation following the tragedies at Mussidan Place in Woodbridge, which is owned by Flagship Housing. The latest body was found on August 8 after a neighbour noticed the man’s kitchen was infested with flies. Residents believe he had lain there since June, when they first complained about a bad smell. They said they were shocked by the death – but it was not the first to go unnoticed. Another body was found in February. Neighbours said the dead man’s relative told them it had been there since November last year. They said the bodies would have been found sooner if not for budget cuts stripping away wardens who used to check up on residents.https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/flagship-housing-residents-in-woodbridge-criticise-sheltered-housing-cuts-after-two-deaths-1-6226463

Ceilings collapse in housing association properties around the country, warnings ignored

L&Q tenant’s ceiling collapsed on the morning of his daughter’s birthday – six weeks after first raising the issue and warning this would happen

Record surplus for 2017-18 of £348 million

All over England, this is increasingly common amongst the corporate profit-driven housing associations. This month with L&Q, for example https://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/housing-complaints-goodmayes-london-quadrant-1-6326741 Inside Housing also reported on this, although they chose not to show the collapsed ceiling but instead, a lovely shiny picture of L&Q offices.

Places For People, £184.5 million operating profit 2017-18

Ceilings fall in with Places For People in Bristol

In May 2018, after having called out the Places For People maintenance team more than thirty times in four years, the ceiling caved in on a support worker and her family in Bristol.

Elderly residents left for 7 months with no ceiling in Ely housing block run by Sanctuary Housing

Elderly residents left with no ceiling for seven months

I’ve previously blogged about Sanctuary tenants having ceilings collapse in on them and this continues. Early this year, the Ely Standard in Cambridge reported:- Ceiling that came crashing down in Ely sheltered housing block for the elderly still hasn’t been repaired SEVEN months on.

Charlie Bissett, whose 92-year-old mother-in-law lives there: “This is completely unacceptable for elderly residents and they are all worried about it. The fire alarm has been going off constantly too – which is quite dangerous for safety purposes because they don’t know when to leave for a fire or not.”

But if so many large housing associations really are this bad, we’d all know about it by now, wouldn’t we? How about the Peabody Trust, a well-respected name in the world of charitable housing groups, originally founded in the 1860s?

Here’s a few reviews on Trustpilot “Peabody is a joke of a company.” “One star is way too much to rate this” “Shameful. Dreadful to deal with, just a constant loop of them lying that they will take action and come back to you… Do not deal with this company if you can avoid it.” “Unresponsive and disorganized housing association.” “Dreadful customer service and no accountability.” “Hopeless.

“A picture of what our kitchen wall has looked like for about a year.”

The complaints are much the same from all tenants across the whole sector. Mould and rat-infested properties, bad or non-existent repairs and maintenance, staff who don’t listen, fire alarms not working, destruction of tenants’ property, charges for services not done, inappropriate eviction threats, breaking of data protection laws, general incompetence, lies, lies and more lies

Hyde Housing More of the same in their 2200+ open residents group – Hyde Housing Independent Resident Group

Notting Hill Genesis. Riverside. Catalyst.

They’re all at it, across the whole sector and across the whole country.

Neither government nor media are seriously bothered about these companies shitting on people who are often vulnerable or elderly or disadvantaged in some way – not forgetting the many housing association tenants and their families who, relatively speaking, are none of these. Well done to a couple of MPs who’ve spoken out in Parliament but where are the rest of you? A very large number of you know all about this.

Change must happen. Regulate them – maybe break the big ones up? Even more radically, a bit more general honesty and kindness by groups like Sanctuary would be a good start.

If you are in a position to do so in any way, please spread the word, cheers.

A nationwide scandal – Sanctuary Housing

Sanctuary

Time to expose this relentlessly appalling organization and others like it.

See 2019 blog Deaths, incompetence and lies – the multimillion pound housing associations destroying lives

It’s now 2016 and as you can see below, Sanctuary Housing are still up to their tricks. There is no effective regulation stopping them, so they can keep getting away with it – the likes of the Homes and Communities Agency and the Housing Ombudsman have no serious interest in complaints. This is a nationwide corporate rip-off scandal (so far almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media) if ever there was one. I have heard that some of the other large housing groups can be just as bad e.g. Hyde Housing, Affinity Sutton, Metropolitan and others. Perhaps all part of the Conservative government’s long-term plans to privatise social housing? Run it all into the ground and bring in non-affordable affordable homes and more private landlords to save the day? And generally make the housing crisis worse? In the meantime people are suffering – big time.

If you have had serious problems with Sanctuary Housing or Sanctuary Group, please join the independent facebook group, from which the edited posts here are taken. It offers support and advice from others who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary Housing – the incompetence, the frequent breaking of tenancy agreements, the threats, the lies and all the rest of it. (To Sanctuary staff who genuinely do their best, keep up the good work. I know from my own experience that it’s not an easy area to work in.) The group now has over 600 members:-

Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide (over 800 members as at December 2016)

poundsignukSince I first came across them in 2008, it has become obvious that thousands of people (including the elderly and vulnerable) have had their lives ruined by this frequently uncaring and incompetent organization. Unbelievably, Sanctuary is a registered charity – so they don’t pay tax. Even more unbelievably, Chief Executive David Bennett was made a CBE for services to social housing in 2015. Given the Sanctuary performance shown below, perhaps he is now due for a knighthood?

Sanctuary Group Executive.David Bennett FCA, CCMI, Group Chief Executive.For Sanctuary Group

Sanctuary Chief Executive, David Bennett. £340K and a CBE in 2015 – for THIS!? (see below)

Sanctuary Group make millions. For the year 2013-2014, the landlord reported a surplus of £42.6 million. (Inside Housing 1.10.14)

In one way or another, thousands of people in their 100,000 homes are being shafted by this company. Do everything you can, an e-mail to Watchdog achieves nothing by itself. Go through their complaints procedure until you are completely satisfied, or write to your MP and make sure they follow it through, contact local and national media with detailed documentation, go to Citizens Advice, Environmental Health, local councillors. Try to stay calm and strong, you are not alone! Demand that Sanctuary stop causing you and others so much suffering. Please do it people, don’t let them bully you.

Here is the link to the facebook group again:- Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide

A typical complaint on Twitter

A typical complaint on Twitter

A SMALL SAMPLE OF COMPLAINTS FROM JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2016

“We beat them once in court, now winning again. They are only interested in their bank balance not our children’s safety”

“I was waiting 12 years (in the end I gave up and moved out) and they blamed me for breathing moisture/being in flat all day….I worked 65 hours a week so how did they figure that out! They are now charging me for repairs as it was “my fault”. If the damp issues were my fault, why do almost all Sanctuary properties have problem with damp and my new home that I’ve lived in for a year now doesn’t?…..funny that x”

“Still no hot water as a tiny piece of metal had pierced the hot water pipe when it went bang… Communication was rubbish the whole time me having to chase them all this while having a 3 yr old..wouldn’t even put us in a bnb!! Sanctuary housing do not care.”

“Yesterday I found out I may need my entire ground floor digging up and replacing because there may not be a membrane down or it could have corroded. Also had to call them back because despite new parts on my hot water tank, the hot water is off and still turning on all night because something isn’t doing its job properly. The boiler was serviced a few weeks ago too and had a new seal but now it’s making a whistling tune when it fires up. Very nice, but I worry about carbon monoxide because I’ve been poisoned before. I don’t need to worry about something that should be working properly.”

“I went 13 months before they decided to replace my boiler and then they only did it as my health visitor phoned them!”

“This is the worst housing association. I have been without water for 4 days which they don’t think it’s an emergency. I call burst pipes emergency not only that they have put charges on the rent an extra few quid a week coz they planted a few flowers somewhere. I say somewhere coz nobody as seen them and they charge for window cleaning and I’ve lived here for 3 years and not once have anyone come round to clean them how are they getting away with treating people like this it’s a f***ing joke.”

“Anyone know a contact for these useless people regarding a compensation claim? I’ve called 3 times and keep being told to call the repairs dept……”

Twitter3“Yeah we have damp in every room in this house especially up stairs we also have plaster dust in the house everywhere in every room all over in all the carpets and I mean absolutely everywhere, in and on everything even in the house wee have all been breathing it in for the last 10 YEARS and we all have infections from it and it’s been here for ten years.”

“So have become a sanctuary tenant after a mutual exchange.. Wish I hadn’t bothered!! What a waste of time totally incompetent company. It’s been a farce from start to finish! Really annoyed at the amount of repairs that need doing that they fail to acknowledge. Yet are quick to inform me that if I dare to install an electric shower, at my cost, they will have to inspect it to make sure it’s done properly and looks nice.. Yet the bathroom it’s going into is really old, with blown tiles hanging off and massive chips out of the bath.. But that’s ok?? F***ing idiots.”

“Sanctuary has served eviction notice on a mum with 2 young children. Heartless and shocking. Calls itself a charity. Calls itself Sanctuary. Oh and it’s jobsworths being pedantic…. We have contacted Sanctuary Housing, local MP and submitted homeless application with council. Looks like they will be sent to a B&B. Sanctuary have been awful.”

“Apparently Sanctuary believe this is not something that needs addressing as soon as possible, despite 2 young children and myself living in this with asthma…”

“Apparently sanctuary believe this is not something that needs addressing as soon a possible dispite 2 young children and my self living in this with asthma …. I don’t know what to say I’m upset and angered by there lack of help… I won’t give up I just hate it when they put pressure on you and try to make you look like an idiot … I’m not that clued up on everything to know what’s what. This place is tearing me apart I literally sit there and cry because no one seems to do anything and how this place is practically falling to bits around me and I can’t get out. I’m already in touch with the mp and it doesn’t sound like there is much he can do from what he said … I will ask about the windows …. to top it off we have storage heaters too so it is unbelievably expensive …. we have many other issues with this place too … it’s like a living hell

 “Good luck getting anything done with them… go straight to your mp … honestly we have been fighting for so long and nothing has been done it’s not worth the stress just place a complaint and maintenance request over the phone and keep all of the reference numbers logged down in a diary and take them to your mp or local housing office. It’s really not worth our time to go through sanctuary. They simply couldn’t care less about any of their tenants or their own contracts.
investor

Justice for Ernest John Coles – the crimes of Sanctuary Care?

PleaseHelpMeThis document has been received and signed for in the following offices:

Devon County Council, The Police, The Doctor involved, Sanctuary Care and CQC head office.
House of Commons and NHSLA, pending, not yet signed for…

Letter of Notification of a Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes
Date of claim: 20th October 2015.
Copied to the NHS Litigation Authority
Associated bodies
Rachel Chalmers, DC for vulnerable adults Rachel Doyle, CQC Inspector
CQC Enquiry Number – 2186209966
Claim
Failure to comply with the Health and social care Act 2008 Regulation 20 Breach of duty of care to both Mr and Mrs Coles
Claimant:
Ernest John Coles of 7 Lichfield Road, Redhills, Exwick, EX4 2EU
on behalf of his late wife Marguerite Coles who passed away in Greenslades Nursing home on the 9th of December 2013
Defendants:
Responsible for the care of his late wife and failing to provide information.
Mark Mc Carthy, Head of Sanctuary Care
Natasha Knowles, business manager for Sanctuary Care
David Berenski previous Manager of Greenslades nursing home Alison Robertson Previous manageress of Greensalades Nursing home Dr.Carl Bracey, responsible doctor for Greenslades Nursing home, Foxhayes Surgery
Phil Norrey, CEO Devon County Council
…………………………….

Ernest John Coles

Ernest John Coles

On the 25th of August 2015 a letter was sent to Mark McCarthy, head of Sanctuary Care requesting an explanation to why the care plan of the late Marguerite Coles states that it has been “rewritten.”
The letter was received in their Worcester office and the signature documented by the post office is “Gormley.”
It was also acknowledged by email to myself but not to Mr Coles. Email content :

Dear Ms Wakefield,
Thank you for your email dated 25 September.
I am emailing to confirm receipt and to assure you that Mr Coles’ letter of 25 August is being dealt with professionally and that a response will be sent within the 30 days that was requested.
Kind regards, Natasha

Natasha Knowles BA (Hons), PGCE, CPE – Law
Business Manager
Sanctuary Care Limited
Cameo House, Chamber Court, Castle Street, Worcester, WR1 3ZQ.
Tel: 01905 334243 (Internal: 34243)
Fax: 01905 21019
Email: Natasha.Knowles@sanctuary-housing.co.uk
“Keeping kindness at the heart of our care.”
Sanctuary Care is part of Sanctuary Group

Unfortunately they have failed to act professionally and failed to deliver an explanation on the deadline given. I have followed them up with a phone call and I was informed that the lady dealing with this matter is on annual leave and that no one is covering her duties.
This case is as Im sure you are aware, a matter of public interest and grave concern.
In order to restore faith in the public services provided by all of the organizations involved in this matter there needs to be a thorough investigation in to this case. If the handling of this case is a reflection of the standard of care given to the vulnerable people that you are all responsible for protecting then it sheds huge concern over the services provided.

Ernest2Mr Coles is seeking further specialist legal advice in this matter as he is the legal representative of his late wife and has a grant of probate in safekeeping. As it is a crime to falsify medical notes and care plans we expect your professional response in this investigation of serious concern and provide us with a satisfactory outcome in order to restore the trust of the public who pay for the system in place.

We look forward to resolving this matter as quickly as possible as you are already responsible for the mistreatment of Mr. Coles as he is in his own right a vulnerable adult. I would also like to remind you that both Mr and Mrs Coles both gave up their retirement to work voluntarily for the NHS and to be repaid by society in this way is unforgivable and will not be forgotten.

A response from this pre-action letter is required within the standard time frame of 20 days by all involved without exception.

Samantha Wakefield

Facebook page Justice for Ernest John Coles

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