Wembley Matters was contacted by a Sovereign Network Group (SNG) leaseholder in Brent who was at the end of his tether because, despite appealing to the recently merged housing association (Sovereign Housing Association plus Netwrok Housing), his MP and others, has been unable to get satisfaction with a series of complaints about the state of his building, service charges and a £800 excess.
He is clearly not alone. Michael Gove's letter above shows equal frustration and there are clearly other cases. SNG also features in Barry Gardiner's documentary on leasehold released today LINK.
Closer investigation reveals many complaints over the last year or so LINK:
Utterly poor service by this company, it does not care for its clients. I ordered fob keys a month ago and paid for them but they still have not produced them. incompetent staff and a lot of useless bureaucracy to get simple things done. Any new customers avoid this company
Missing CCTV cameras for four months. Still paying full service charge for CCTV. Network Homes refused to take accountability for it. And said "it's a mystery". Quick to take the service money though.
I would not recommend Network Homes. In the past week we have had no water at all. The fobs haven’t worked in months, homeless people are gaining access and sleeping in the stairwell and service charges have gone up thousands of pounds within a year.
When you call the ‘emergency line’ nothing is done.
They are incompetent.
Disgusting organisation, demanding money for services not carried out or carried out in a totally unacceptable way. Check your service charges, they try to charge for things that dont apply. Threaten with court action to force payment out of you, yet are in breach of their own lease for refusing to show proof of work carried out. Avoid buying or renting a home under their management at all costs.
Network homes have been withholding information on the estate accounts for 4 years. I chase and I’m ignored. What are you hiding, over charging lease holders for work that has not been carried out seems to be a favourite.
So it is puzzling that SNG is so well embedded in Brent with the biggest project 1,600 homes in Northwick Park, 654 of which are in phase 1. They also have properties in Electric House in Willesden, Rosemary House, Wood Court and Greenfield Court; Print Works in Neasden and Wembley High Road.
In Northwick Park they are partners with Brent Council, Westminster University and the NHS through the government sponsored 'One Public Estate'. LINK
Brent Council used them for feasibility and design processes in Kilburn Square, Windmill Court and Watling Gardens. LINK
Current leaseholders ask if they are fit partners for the Council given the above issues.
Network Homes moved out of their building at the junction of Olympic Way and Engineers Way into a new HQ closer to the London Designer Outlook. The vacated building will house a new building for the College of North West London. The College of North West London Olympic Way/Bridge Road site will be redeveloped as will their Dudden Hill site. Brent Council did a financial deal with United Colleges (who own the college and its land) by offering a bridging loan of £50 million in 2019 LINK.
Since then a rather cryptic note has appeared on Brent Council's Forward Plan indicating a revised sum but that is restricted. Decisions are left to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Deputy Leader of the Council.
Note. My ward map indicates that the Wembley Park campus of CNWL is in Wembley Park ward
Whether SNG is embedded or enmeshed with Brent Council there are clearly questions to be answered about the Council's involvement with an organisation that is under such heavy criticism.