London & Quadrant, one of the largest landlords in London, has been publicly shamed into abject apology after ITV featured the case Junior Jimoh on its news broadcast.
SHAC has been running the ‘L&Q Fix Our Broken Homes’ campaign since early May. The importance of our campaign was tragically reinforced in an ITV news item highlighting Mr Jimoh’s appalling living conditions.
ITV reported: “Junior Jimoh has a neuro-muscular condition. He cannot walk, can barely talk and breathes with the assistance of a ventilator. He receives around-the-clock care in his flat in Clapham, a flat that is covered in black mould and damp. It is particularly bad in Junior’s bedroom. Next to the ventilation equipment which helps him breathe, grows thick mould which makes it harder.”
Although Mr Jimoh’s case is particularly extreme, such disrepair is unfortunately not rare, nor is L&Q’s failure to care properly for those with physical or mental ill health.
Following the broadcast, L&Q group director of customer services – Gerri Scott – wrote to tenants and residents acknowledging that the landlord had failed to provide the standards of care that Mr Jimoh deserved.
“I cannot express how appalled and ashamed myself and my colleagues are that we let this happen. No one should have to endure such awful conditions in their home, and feel so uncared for by their landlord.”
The apology is a welcome recognition of failings, but must be followed up with action. The action must include a willingness to listen to tenant and resident representatives who are able to identify systemic (not just isolated) problems. L&Q should meet now with SHAC, the London Renters’ Union, and others. These groups offer valuable insight and are often able to speak on behalf of those who find it hard to speak for themselves. Yet L&Q has so far refused to engage, referring all approaches back to the dysfunctional complaints system.
It is particularly galling to hear such accounts from an organisation which reported a rise of 8% in turnover (from £638m to £689m at December 2020), while its post-tax surplus soared by 54% from £121m to £195m in the same year (Inside Housing).
SHAC will continue to campaign on behalf of L&Q members and pressure the landlord to improve its standards in all areas.
24 May 2021