Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Concerns raised over ‘dilapidated’ condition of NIHE flats

Concerns have been raised regarding the “dilapidated” condition of Clare House, a multi-storey building of Housing Executive flats in Newry’s North Street.

Speaking on behalf of the republican grouping Saoradh an Iúir, its vice-chairperson Anthony Coyle said a number of residents contacted the party recently with complaints of unfit conditions and poor maintenance of the building.  Mr Coyle also claimed that locks to the main access door were changed recently without the knowledge of some of the residents, one of whom was forced to sleep in their car as they could not get into their home.

Commenting after speaking to affected residents Mr Coyle said: “They explained several areas of concern to us regarding the state of disrepair the building is in.  Damp and condensation along with mould were just some of the issues raised.  The level of decay and deterioration of Clare House is completely unacceptable. It is in a state of disrepair and neglect with residents left waiting for long overdue repairs and improvements.

“To make matters worse, the Housing Executive recently changed the locks to the main door without consulting residents. This meant some residents were locked out of the building with one resident being forced to sleep in their car and another having to stay in a relative’s house,” he claimed.

“Not only that but residents are also paying a service charge for the upkeep and maintenance of the building when in fact it isn’t being maintained at all. Rather it is being neglected.”

Mr Coyle says the Housing Executive has a duty of care to the residents of Clare House and he called on the authority to ensure necessary maintenance work is carried out as soon as possible.

“The Housing Executive have a duty of care for residents of Clare House and we are hopeful they will abide by that responsibility,” he said.  “We simply want to see this is  brought to a satisfactory conclusion.  We are hopeful this will be rectified in due course and we will keep the residents updated with any progress.”

Responding to The Examiner’s request for comment, a spokesperson for NIHE said: “I can confirm that we changed the communal locks to the entry doors of Clare House on Wednesday 2 May, as the intercom system was being upgraded.  At that time the patch manager visited all of the flats with the community representative (who lives in Clare House), and left keys with neighbours if the resident was not available.  Local staff were made aware that one resident had difficulty accessing their home, but this was quickly resolved.

 “Tenants do not pay a service charge, this only applies to residents who have purchased their flats.  The service charge consists of costs such as buildings insurance, communal lighting and any charges incurred as a result of maintenance carried out to the building,” the spokesperson added.