CHELMSFORD: Chelmer Village residents criticise landlords' maintenance
RESIDENTS of an estate in Chelmer Village are fed up with their landlords after they claim a lack of housing maintenance has left them with massive heating bills.
Thirty occupants of Swan Housing Group's estate on Eglinton Drive, Rennie Place and Clements Close, have signed a petition to get their windows replaced and improved insulation fitted.
The residents of the terraced houses say they have put up with, amongst other things, mould on the windows, draughts and leaking window panes – even though the houses were only built ten years ago.
However, they claim that not only have Swan ignored their petition, but have ignored other complaints.
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Sue Yew, mother of two, lives in Rennie Place and says that she asked Swan Housing to replace her insulation.
"They hired a contractor, but they just put a small square of insulation around the loft, not even covering the whole floor."
Occupant Tracy Clarke of Rennie Place, said: "My little one's been under the care of Great Ormond Street Hospital since birth, he's got water on the brain, and he's permanently got coughs and colds.
"My gas bills are £500, and every time I get a bill I have to pay.
"Even today I need to have the heating on, but I've had to turn it off because I can't afford the bills.
"The mould on the windows I have to wipe down every day, and I have complained but nothing has been done.
"When I first moved in, Swan Housing got things sorted straight away, but now they don't."
Susan Davies of Clements Close said she intends to pay to have her home investigated using thermal imaging during winter to prove the massive amount of heat being lost.
Swan Housing said it has received two formal complaints from residents regarding mould, and has "agreed steps" with residents aimed at solving problems.
Swan said in a statement: "All windows were refurbished using a correct paint system.
"We have received resident feedback following these works which give positive comments; none made any reference to the problems now being raised."
Swan does not accept that the same issues exist in houses on all three streets.
"Properties at the estate already meet the Government's Decent Homes Standard ... the existing timber framed double glazed windows will be replaced with UPVC units before they reach the end of their life cycle."
Residents claim the apportioned "life cycle" of the windows means that they won't be replaced until 2016, but for many in Chelmer Village, they just want a quick end to deteriorating windows, high bills and chilly rooms.