MP says agents lied over water outage in Waterworks Yard

A Croydon MP has accused a firm of managing agents of having lied, as residents in a town centre block of flats were left without water for nearly four days and with no functioning lift.

Cut off: Bridge House has been without water since Sunday

Some of the residents of Bridge House on Waterworks Yard, next to Surrey Street Market, include the elderly and vulnerable, as well as families with small children.

The water supply to nearly 80 flats was cut off on Sunday, as Croydon headed into a Bank Holiday heatwave with the highest temperatures of the year so far.

Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central, and the area’s ward councillors, made repeated attempts to engage with the flats’ managing agents, The HML Group, who have offices on Park Lane in Croydon.

When Inside Croydon called HML Group this morning, no one there was able to answer our questions, nor did they know whether the situation for Bridge House residents had been improved.

Residents had also been left with a paucity of information once the water supply was cut off on Sunday.

MP Sarah Jones: police action

After the managing agents issued each household with just three bottles of water yesterday, some residents received an email from the HML Group around 11pm last night advising them to go on a shopping trip to buy more water and to keep the receipts for reimbursement.

“We cannot leave this for another night,” one angry resident said. “No showers, no toilets, no drinking water.”

This morning, another resident tweeted, “Can the HML Group please update all residents in Bridge House with a truthful when the engineer will be here to fix our water please? Four days of being unable to flush our toilets is disgusting! All we want is some honest communication to all residents.”

The request by the MP for the managing agents to arrange for residents to be moved to a hotel until the issues can be resolved was first greeted with a promise from HML Group. But the managing agents refused to put the offer in writing.

Branded: MP Sarah Jones’ angry tweet this morning

A later message from the company yesterday claimed that an email had been sent before 6pm to “the residents and leaseholders that I have email addresses for…”, something that has been disputed by some residents, “… advising that they can go to a hotel”.

But there was a “but”: the managing agent added, “I also advised that I could not guarantee reimbursement until I spoke to the insurance company.”

One of the ward councillors tweeted, “I’m staggered by the incompetence of HML Group. Leaving residents in this situation is an absolute disgrace.” The company’s attitude was, according to the councillor, “appalling”.

Feeble: the response from HML Group yesterday evening

By midnight last night, Jones was threatening to call in the police. “You cannot leave people with no water,” she tweeted.

She branded the company’s inaction as “disgraceful”.

“Ringing your out of hours number has achieved nothing,” Jones posted on Twitter.

“You must move people to hotels when they have no water. The council is delivering some emergency water but you have to move people now they have no toilets. Please act now.”

By this morning, Jones issued an open message for advice from housing law specialists, saying, “The managing agents lied on the phone, and have kept residents in fear with little communications and have no list of vulnerable residents, but have they acted illegally?”

Inside Croydon put a series of questions about Bridge House to HML Group this morning, including,

  • Is the water back on yet?
  • Have the lifts been fixed?
  • Why has it taken your company so long to respond to the tenants’ complaints?
  • Why did your company do nothing to provide alternative accommodation for the tenants? And…
  • What’s it like to see your company labelled as “liars” by the local MP?

But by the time of publication, just like the residents and leaseholders in Bridge House, HML Group had failed to provide us with any satisfactory answers.

But their “head of marketing” (nice!) did drop us a note to say that she would “endeavour” to get a statement to us at some point… Which, approaching four days into this particular crisis with a property they are supposed to look after, seemed to be, well, a bit wet.

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
  • Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and BBC London News
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named the country’s rottenest borough in 2020 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine – the fourth successive year that Inside Croydon has been the source for such award-winning nominations
  • Inside Croydon: 3million page views in 2020. Seen by 1.4million unique visitors

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Business, Croydon Central, Fairfield, Housing, Sarah Jones MP and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to MP says agents lied over water outage in Waterworks Yard

  1. Nick Davies says:

    I assume that the managing agents are employed by the freeholder, rather than a managment company comprising the leaseholders. Has the freeholder be contacted, they’re the ones who should be applying pressure on HML.

  2. Simone says:

    Update: we still have no water 🙂

  3. Frederick says:

    I’m not suggesting that a few days without water is in any way acceptable or pleasant, or that the incompetence of HML (which is a given) should be tolerated, but – is it just me, or is Sarah Jones MP grandstanding and massively over reacting to this isolated and temporary problem as a consequence of doing *absolutely nothing* for all those years for the poor people in Regina Road?

    If Croydon Labour MPs are now triggered by each and every housing problem, then maybe that’s a win! Finally, they’re actually doing their job…

    • Joe E says:

      It’s totally the case Regina Road residents have had sustained hardship and misery, and whilst the problems in my block are yet another ridiculous and unjustifiable case of leashold failure, there are so many people in the UK living in accomodation unfit for habitation all year round, absolutely no doubt about that.

      That said, this is a Croydon Council responsibility (for which they deserve full scrunity and criticism), and Sarah Jones is not even MP for the area (Regina Road is not in Croydon Central)

      • Milhouse says:

        Just out of interest, why are the events at Bridge House a Croydon Council problem – is Croydon Council the freeholder, or are the flats privately owned?

        If the latter then I don’t see why it’s directly a council issue rather than a purely private matter between the residents/landlords and the managing agents. Yes, the health issues are a serious concern, but still not directly Croydon Councils problem…

        Someone mentioned above that Bridge House doesn’t have a Right To Manage (RTM) company. The owners of the properties in Bridge House may want to give serious thought to creating an RTM co. so that they can have more control over how their service charges are spent, and choose their managing agent (ie. replace HML with someone better – HML will be ripping you off left, right & center). Setting up an RTM co. isn’t hard.

        • It is not directly a matter for Croydon Council (unless some regulatory issues over the health and safety of residents come in to play), but it is a matter for Croydon councillors, and an MP, who were contacted by the residents that they represent and, quite rightly, sought answers from the property’s management company.

          Just a shame that their colleagues in South Norwood never acted with such speed and vigour when the Regina Road council flat residents called on them for their help. Or maybe that is, as suggested previously, exactly why Jones and the councillors have gone to so much trouble to be seen to be agitating on residents’ behalf..?

Leave a Reply