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Housing estate residents who have been ‘living in hell’ entitled to ‘millions in damages’

PUBLISHED: 15:25 14 February 2017

Orchard Village, Rainham

Orchard Village, Rainham

Archant

A buyback offer for residents who have suffered from a litany of problems at a troubled housing estate is “still not good enough”.

That is the view of a solicitor representing exasperated residents at Orchard Village in Rainham.

Kalvin Chapman, associate solicitor at Muldoon Britton, describes the case as one of the “most shocking” in his decade of litigation claims.

The Clarion housing group, Britain’s largest housing association, took over the estate two months ago when it bought the original property developer Circle Homes.

With hundreds coming forward over the last two years issuing complaints, Clarion last week agreed to buy back 58 of the 387 homes in Orchard Village.

While the solicitor concedes the offer is a “great move forward”, Mr Chapman claims there is still “millions in damages to be contested across the whole estate”.

“Clarion has suddenly bucked its ideas up, finally realising this could end up in court,” he said.

“I am grateful that somebody has seen sense but I still think more needs to be done.

“They have not dealt with the residents who have had waterfalls coming through their ceilings, sewage in their kitchens and rats running round their homes.

“People have been effectively living in hell and are entitled to substantial damages to fix their homes and the two years of inaction.”

The solicitor believes the timing of the offer by Clarion is “rather telling” with many residents suspicious about why now.

Mr Chapman said: “They have had several media outlets demanding answers and solicitors talking to the entire estate so Clarion have been put under significant pressure to do something.

“There is a massive risk residents will not get compensated for everything if they agree to having the house bought back quickly.”

Clarion has been quick to defend their actions since taking over with dedicated project teams visiting the site on a regular basis in an attempt to understand the extent of the issues.

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