‘Poo-stained carpets and mouldy walls’ at Plaza 21 flats in Swindon

POO-STAINED carpets, water leaks, mouldy walls and broken lifts in a town centre apartment block have left one flat owner disgusted.

Maureen Harris has lived at Plaza 21 for 19 years and is alarmed about her annual service charge rising to £5,500 when she claims no noticeable work is being done to account for the increase.

But the building’s management say the tower was in a bad state when they took it over and have been working to fix its fundamental flaws.

The 80-year-old claims rough sleepers used to urinate and defecate in the hallways and stairwells, including right outside her front door, before security was stepped up a few years ago – but the carpets have not been replaced since then.

She added: “It doesn’t make sense, the charges go up and up but nothing changes or improves, it’s pathetic. 

“People are paying a lot of money to live here, especially in the penthouses on the top floor.

“The lifts are often out of order because water pours down the tower and flows into the lift shafts and underground garage, so I have to go down dozens of stairs to get out, and the stairwells are filthy.

“They added a one-time payment for major works to the roof three years ago which is now on my bill every year. 

“There’s no-one I can talk to about this because the property manager is only here once in a blue moon.

“They just want us to pay up and shut up, it’s not right.”

Warwick Estates manages the Sanford Street building. 

Chief operating officer Emma Power said: “There are considerable ongoing costs associated with Plaza 21, a building that is now two decades old and which even Swindon Council acknowledges is ‘unfortunately let down by the quality of its original construction’.

“We were appointed as managing agents in 2015, long after Plaza 21 was built and have been working hard since to remedy the many build quality and security issues that plague this development on behalf of the residents from whom we take instruction.

“Our role is to provide maintenance and remedial works and supervision to the building and, of course, these costs are passed on to the flat owners under the terms of their lease.

“This is how most leasehold developments in the UK are managed. If there are repairs or costs needed, we simply arrange for them to be done, consult the flat owners on those works and invite observations, then oversee the payment of such.

“In the case of Mrs Harris specifically we have received a total of 19 letters from her since 2019 and have replied to each and every one.

“Additionally, Mrs Harris has been notified of all of the issues with Plaza 21 as they have occurred, alongside all other leaseholders, and has been furnished with all service charge accounts in advance. These have been re-sent a number of times.

“We are always there as a friendly resource for leaseholders to turn to, especially those that are elderly or vulnerable and we do endeavour to try to explain the complexities of the often many issues that a large, communal style of building can create.”

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