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Landlord ‘is waiting for Golders Green tenant to leave or die’ as it drags heels over repairs

PUBLISHED: 16:19 02 November 2018

Lucia Wilson with rotting windows in her Golders Green flat. Picture: Lucia Wilson

Lucia Wilson with rotting windows in her Golders Green flat. Picture: Lucia Wilson

Archant

A long-term tenant in Golders Green has said her landlords are “bullying and harassing” her after they have dragged their heels over a catalogue of problems in her flat.

Lucia Wilson has lived in her flat in Golders Green Road since 1983, and has an increasingly rare “protected tenant” status. The tenancy type, which was abolished in 1989, gives tenants a security of tenancy and a “right to a fair rent.”

However Lucia has been engaged in a battle with landlords, Banham Security Holdings, since 2016. She says bosses are reluctant to make repairs, and slow at responding to issues.

Banham Security Holdings is separate from Banham Patent Locks, who also provide security services.

In 2017 the company repeatedly refused to replace a boiler in the three-bedroom flat when a plumber had condemned it. However in a freak accident, when a plumber they hired went to try and fix it, the stand for the heater collapsed and the tank fell on top of Lucia, who was supporting it.

She says that the company took months to pay compensation, and did not apologise. She got a payout for her injuries, but said Banham has never apologised to her.

She currently has a rotting wooden window in her study, which has left her fearing for her safety if she opens it. It means she cannot use the room to work.
The 60-year-old said: “It feels that they want to force me out so they can get somebody else in and charge higher rent,” she said. “They’re waiting for me to die or to leave.

“You rent a home and you expect to live peacefully and that when repairs need to be done, they should do them. I can’t move anywhere else due to what the market rents are, it feels like I’m being bullied and harrassed.”

Barnet Council said a housing officer was in touch with both parties.

Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, Andrew Dismore wrote to Banham in December last year raising his concerns. He called their conduct into question. He said: “I asked them to visit the property and make sure it was properly maintained. They never responded to my letter. If a boiler falls on top of a tenant, then the landlord may be a case for the mayor’s new landlord register.”

A spokesperson for Banham said the problems were the responsibility of the letting agent, and said Ms Wilson had been obstructive over access to the property. They said: “We understand that there are repairs to be done to Ms Wilson’s windows and any delay has not been at the fault of the Landlord. As a sitting Tenant, Ms Wilson has the only access and keys, but has repeatedly provided limited access for tradesmen to measure and carry out works. “Any claims of bullying or harassment are entirely false and without substance.“

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