Tower Hamlets Council is cutting ties with One Housing Group after passing a motion of no confidence in the social housing provider.
The move follows a petition backed by councillors which claimed that the group’s Isle of Dogs residents had lost trust in the landlord following problems with repairs and poor communication.
The motion means that One Housing Group is no longer the council’s preferred partner in Tower Hamlets and it will no longer recommend the group to developers to run new social housing schemes.
The group has run four housing estates in the Isle of Dogs since it was formed following a merger between the Toynbee Housing Association and the Community Housing Association in 2007. The new Labour-run administration says enough is enough after years of complaints.
Also online: Transparency commission for Tower Hamlets Council
Cllr Candida Ronald, One Housing Group resident and chairwoman of the Samuda Estate Residents Association, said: “One Housing is in complete denial about its appalling record in maintenance and repairs.
“It thinks it does a wonderful job, yet residents know the truth. No wonder residents say they do not feel supported or cared for and experience poor, inconsistent, inaccurate unfriendly communications.
“Residents never voted for One Housing to be their landlord and if they were given the opportunity I believe they would sack them.”
One Housing Group has responded saying that no standards had been breached, and that the group was keen to build bridges with the council.
A spokesman for the organisation said: “We are aware of the council’s concerns and are keen to address some apparent misunderstandings about our work and our future development plans.
“We are meeting the Mayor soon as a first step towards what we hope will be a positive resolution.
“We are confident that we have not breached any regulatory tenant standards in Tower Hamlets.”
The news comes as The Wharf received a document which suggests early plans from One Housing Group to replace 2,000 homes with 9,000 in the Isle of Dogs over the next 20 years.
The 52-page document, named Project Stone, is believed to have been presented to the board of One Housing Group earlier this year. It hints at plans to quadruple the number of homes on the association’s four estates in the island.
The plans suggest selling upmarket properties on the site, with “high earning financial sector workers” named as potential buyers.
There are currently around 1,200 tenants and 800 leaseholders in One Housing Group’s estates in the Barkantine, Kingsbridge, Crossharbour and St John’s and Samuda estates which occupy vast swathes of Isle of Dogs land.
Cllr Candida Ronald accused the group of wanting to get rid of its social housing residents with the plans, effectively gentrifying the area.
She said: “It feels like they want to eradicate the people who live here – it’s as if their lives have no meaning.”
But a spokesman for the One Housing Group claimed the plans were in their infancy. He said the only reason OHG would sell luxury housing would be to plough profits back into more social housing.
“A lot of these properties are challenging to maintain. We have started looking at what could be done.
“[Plans] are very early – we have done our homework but we are putting it on ice. We have been talking to our residents and we have thoughts to share with them.”
Under the heading Tasks Undertaken to Date, the document lists comprehensive market research, identifying a target audience and a rates and rental yields study. Under the heading Target Market it lists international investors, existing residents looking to trade up and high earning financial sector workers.
But the spokesman said existing residents would be offered places to live in the estates, should they be rebuilt, and that the terms of their tenancies and rent levels would be preserved at their current rates.
“We are a social housing provider,” he said. “We need to know how many places we need to build and what we will do to pay for it – it’s about understanding if the numbers stack up.
“Our starting point is more like Robin Hood – that is our business model. We sell premium flats and use the profits to pay for social housing.”