After tragic case of toddler in moldy flat, meet the bosses who are earning huge salaries
Housing chiefs are being paid fat cat salaries while tenants live in squalor, an investigation has found.
Some bosses of the biggest housing associations are even paid three times as much as the Prime Minister.
Big earners include the £592,000-a-year former boss of Anchor Housing, the £402,000 head of Sanctuary and the chief executive of L&Q, whose pay packet was £340,790.
All the companies have been slammed by tenants or by the Housing Ombudsman for failing to deal with problems such as mold and vermin. Last week a coroner said the tragic case of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died after he was exposed to mold in his family’s housing association flat, should be a ‘defining moment’.
Gareth Swarbrick, the £185,000-a-year boss of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, initially failed to resign over the tragedy but was sacked on Saturday.
In another shocking case, a victim of domestic violence was left homeless during the pandemic, leading to a rare finding of severe maladministration against Anchor. The housing ombudsman ruled there were ‘serious failings’.
Awaab Ishack (pictured), 2, died after living in ‘degrading’ conditions in a mould-infested Rochdale flat
In another case in March the ombudsman found against Anchor after it dismissed a vulnerable tenant’s concerns about a rat infestation. Both cases happened on the watch of Jane Ashcroft, who earned £592,000 until she took early retirement at the age of 56. She lives in a £1.5million detached home in Warwickshire.
In another case, a tenant of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing suffered a damp-related infestation of silverfish, a cockroach-like insect. The family had to move out and the ombudsman again ruled there was severe maladministration. It was a far cry from the lavish lifestyle led by the housing association’s chief executive Geeta Nanda, who is paid £283,815.
Social media shows her on trips to the French Riviera, to Portugal, and to Sydney in Australia.
Craig Moule, who has been chief executive of Sanctuary since January 2019, has a mammoth pay packet of £402,000 per year – well over double the Prime Minister’s salary. He received the generous payout despite his firm being named and shamed by the ombudsman as one of the worst companies for mold and damp in 2021. The investigative service found against it in six separate cases.
Jade and Tyrone Sullivan and their three children said they were left ‘living in hell’ due to mold and bed bugs at the London home they rent from Sanctuary. Mr Sullivan says he needed medical treatment for a chest infection, which he blamed on the mould, and he claimed his children had scars caused by bites.
In response Sanctuary said that it was committed to resolving the issues as soon as possible, and had arranged for weekly treatments by a specialist pest control firm. A2Dominion paid its chief executive Darrell Mercer £299,000, despite him overseeing the worst-performing housing association for mould, according to a 2021 ombudsman’s report. The complaints service found against the firm on 11 separate occasions.
Another housing association, Places for People, was also cited for damp and mould.
The dispute service, reporting in February this year, found that the housing association had blamed a resident for the damp, and his wife had to move out to protect her health.