TENANTS at a block of flats in Rathcoole who have been waiting for redecoration grants from the Housing Executive for over eight months could face a further lengthy delay before receiving their payments.
New double glazed windows were installed in 16 flats at 21 - 25 Carmeen Drive in March this year, and residents were due to receive grants to help them redecorate following completion of the work. However, an ongoing dispute between the Housing Executive and Dixons Contractors - the firm who carried out the window replacements - means that the job has not yet been signed off by the Executive and residents are still waiting for their money.
The Executive claims that all the windows will have to be replaced before the grants are issued - something that the contractor says he’s not prepared to do.
Pensioner John Lundy, who suffers from heart problems, says he’s awaiting a grant of £535, while other tenants are due payments of over £600.
“I’ve had to borrow money from my sons and daughters to get my flat redecorated. The whole lot had to be done, so I need the money,” the 69-year-old commented.
“Most of us are happy with the windows - they are fine. There are a few flats where water is apparently getting in and they’re having a few problems, but there is nothing wrong with our windows, so why are the Housing Executive saying that they all need to be replaced?
“If there are problems in a few of the flats then why can’t they fix them or replace their windows and give the rest of us our redecoration grants?”
PUP representative Phil Hamilton, who contacted the local NIHE office about the issue on behalf of the tenants, said: “The residents are being left in limbo because of this dispute between the Housing Executive and Dixons and it’s not fair. They need to get this resolved as soon as possible; it’s been going on far too long.”
Responding to the tenants’ concerns, a spokesperson for the Housing Executive commented: “There has been an issue with windows installed at Carmeen Drive and the contractor has been asked to replace them. Staff have met with the contractor and his window manufacturer on the site.
“The Housing Executive is currently pressing the contractor to replace the windows as soon as possible. Regrettably, until the windows are replaced, ‘Notices of Completion’ cannot be issued. Until this work is complete the redecoration grants cannot be paid.”
She added: “The Housing Executive appreciates the difficulties and inconvenience for the households concerned but we must ensure that all work is carried out to the appropriate standards.”
Speaking to the Times last week, DJ Dixon of Dixons Contractors claimed that the windows are “performing as they should” and would not be replaced.