Shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, visited former home to the stars, Ealing Village, with Rupa. They had been invited to a meeting on renter’s rights (03/02/15), but were surprised to learn that residents of many years were being forced to quit the estate due to increased rents.
Ealing Village was built in 1934 to house stars filming at Ealing Studios, former residents include Michael Barrymore and Blue Peter presenter, Zoe Salmon. The luxury complex boasted private parklands, tennis courts, a clubhouse and pool, however the now grade two-listed property has fallen into disrepair.
Restoration work was approved by one vote at the Ealing Council planning committee last month. But the six million pound cost of the project has been passed on to landlords and tenants, most of whom will have to pay up or quit their homes.
The leaks, damp and unsafe structures which permeate the dilapidated complex doubtless require fixing, but Reynolds and Huq discovered a reluctance among the renting residents to pay for double glazed replicas of the original Crittal windows. They say the number of replacements is excessive and that the reduction in heat loss and noise levels are unsubstantiated.
Robert Hone, a resident, said: "The cost of unnecessary window replacement will lead to a negative effect on the Ealing Village community. Less diversity in economic background, disability and age has been ignored."
"As we will be paying for our own windows we should be allowed to choose to either; restore windows, fit like for like single glazed units or fit approved double glazed units."
However, when Rupa contacted Daniel Johnson, Chair of Ealing Village Freehold LTD. He said the previous commercial owners had left the estate to rot, but that the unpaid directors, who were elected by the leaseholders, are committed to change this, he said:
“We are very passionate about our legal and moral duty to provide safe, warm and damp-free living conditions for residents. We too know how worrying it can be to face service charge increases to pay for the works; we also have to pay them, so we equally want good value”
“The delays, caused by a minority resident opposition, have resulted in above inflation cost increases and prolonged poor living conditions for the majority of residents. Moreover, the government ended VAT at zero percent for listed buildings, which has also resulted in our costs increasing by twenty percent overnight.”
Rupa said: "I was shocked to learn about the extent of the problems faced by residents and directors at Ealing Village. It is clear that maintainance work needs to be done, but wrong that the cost of this means some tennants are being forced to abandon their homes.
"It is crazy that current legislation means private renters are subject to rip-off letting agency fees, have few rights, no security and may find themselves in unsafe, badly maintained homes. I fully support the new Labour policy that addresses all these concerns and will protect a third of the people living in Ealing and Acton, who currently privately rent."