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Transparent Housing

May 6, 2017

Me and the support workers often travel pass the old Cowley house during the week. It’s been obvious since February that the house wasn’t being demolished, which was the reason we were given by both the council and the housing association last year when they told us we had to move. A few weeks back I noticed some scaffolding had gone up circling the house and a few days later, I saw a roofer removing all the tiles. I thought it was odd as surely if the house was being knocked down, they wouldn’t remove the roof tiles first. Then we noticed new roof tiles being laid. Then a new front door being fitted. Workmen have been in and out all week and this morning, one of the support workers drove round there and saw that the place has been completely renovated. New kitchen units and appliances; the lounge has been redecorated and carpeted; the back garden has been laid to lawn. He obviously couldn’t see upstairs but it’s safe to assume that the bedrooms and bathroom has had a complete makeover too.

When I started to smell a rat, I sent off a Freedom of Information request to the council, asking what the plans for the house and street were and what had happened to their plans to demolish the entire road. I got a reply yesterday. No answer obviously – they’re experts of wriggling out of giving a straight answer.

The old house was owned by a private individual. He owns several in the street. He leased the house to a housing association, who in turn, leased it to the council to be used as temporary homeless accommodation.  The LA’s response to my FOI is that they cannot disclose any details because that would be breaking the confidentiality of the owner. There’s no point in doing the same with the Housing Association because they are a charity and don’t fall under FOI rules.

Obviously, the owner has decided to sell the house or try and gain a bigger income by renting it out privately. I accept that it is his property and he is perfectly entitled to do that.

What leaves a nasty taste in my mouth is that we were lied to. On that very first visit by the Housing Association manager last February, he told us that we would need to be out by the end of the year as the whole road was being demolished to make way for a redevelopment. Throughout all the homeless and housing applications that followed with the council, they confirmed that story. We were given no cause to question it.

I feel torn because there is no way we would want to move back there. Steven is so settled in his new house and loves both the house and the area. But he went through several months of real emotional distress both in the couple of months before the move and then up until Christmas in the new house. And it will take me years to save back up the fortune I spent in getting the new house ready for Steven.

The timing of this discovery is lousy. The damp problem got sorted but recently there have been large stains appearing on the hall wall next to the bathroom and inside the door of Steven’s room. It has also spread behind Steven’s wardrobe. It’s not damp but there is clearly a problem (leakage?) with the shower. It’s more than a coincidence that these waist high stains run right the way round the flat directly on the other side of the shower. We had to have some of the tiles replaced a couple of months ago but there looks to be an even greater problem with the whole shower. The council are liable to repair it but I’ll have to pay for Steven’s room and the hall to be redecorated once the problem is solved.

There is no point in pursuing the fact that we were lied to by everybody for nine months. Transparency is dead and buried in Hillingdon.


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  1. Karen permalink

    The owner of your old home ust be traceable through Land registry if you want to find out?

  2. accept that yes, transparency is dead/buried tattered at the very best. The crap is real , very real. Going to be there tomorrow, best foot forward.

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