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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 24 October, 2019
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An 11-year wait for windows: How Dublin tenants are left waiting years for repairs

Dublin City Council residents described years of waiting for repairs, repeated phone calls and ineffectual visits from council staff.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/KatKrittimook

A THREE-YEAR WAIT for a back door or an 11-year wait for replacement windows are just some of the delays faced by Dublin City Council social housing residents for work on their homes.

As councillors return from the summer recess, many are dealing once again with a recurrent issue among residents of Dublin City Council properties – long delays in urgent repairs to their homes.

Dublin residents who spoke to TheJournal.ie described years of waiting for repairs, repeated phone calls and ineffectual visits from staff, painting a picture of a system in which tenants have accepted that significant repair work could take months or even years to materialise.

One tenant in Finglas said they were waiting nearly 11 years for replacement windows. They said that after initially requesting that Dublin City Council replace two single-glazed, steel windows at the back of their house, it took numerous visits and repeated reminders for their new windows to be installed. After years of waiting, the windows were only installed this summer.

“People are looking for homes and [Dublin City Council] can’t even look after the homes they have”, the tenant, who asked not to be identified, said. “There’s loads of people like me in Finglas.”

The tenant is now waiting on insulation work from the council, but worries it won’t be completed in time for winter.

Another tenant from Ballygall described their attempts to have a faulty back door replaced – they were waiting over three years since they initially notified Dublin City Council, with the door only replaced last week.

On windy days, water would seep into their home due to the faulty 10-year-old door, which had caused issues since the tenant moved into the property. It was an “accident waiting to happen”, the tenant said. “I kind of just accepted I’d have to wait years.”

The guidelines

While Dublin City Council tenants are responsible for a range of repairs to their homes, including draught proofing windows and repainting doors, many complaints fell under the maintenance and repairs that the council takes responsibility for.

The council publishes a Housing and Community Services Tenant Handbook, which sets out guidelines for looking after council properties and includes instructions for what to do should your council property need maintenance or repairs.

The handbook also includes a short set of guidelines for how long work will take to be carried out. According to the handbook, a smoking fuse board, faulty sockets or a water leak will be repaired immediately, while a routine problem, such as replacing a toilet cistern, could take up to eight weeks.

However, there are few details about the length of a wait for replacement doors and windows.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Sinn Féin councillor for Ballymun Cathleen Carney Boud said: “It wouldn’t be uncommon for people to be waiting years for new doors and windows.”

“It is a request I get a lot – that people come to me frustrated that they’ve been waiting for so long.” As many as a third of the requests Carney Boud gets from local residents are in relation to maintenance and repairs.

Carney Boud has submitted a motion to Dublin City Council to investigate the cost efficiency of the contractors the council often employs to carry out repair and maintenance work.

She blamed government cuts to council funding for the delays. In 2014, the government announced a €30 million investment programme to insulate local authority properties. However, Carney Boud said another €80 million was need to complete phase two of this programme.

“People are still waiting years for doors windows and insulation to bring their homes up to decent standards.”

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Dublin City Council said it receives over 60,000 repair requests per year, “with the vast majority of these resolved to the satisfaction of our tenants within our target timeframes”.

It currently takes an average of 11.88 days to complete a repair request.

“Tenants can request a repair request in person at the Civic Offices, through our many local area offices, by phone, email and other channels,” it said.

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Dominic McGrath

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