Some people in Enfield have been living for years in council homes without hot water and heating, it has emerged.

The discovery was made by the council’s housing ‘MOT team’, which was recently set up to carry out repairs across the borough, at an estate in Ponders End.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Dino Lemonides told councillors he was “horrified” by the discovery.

He said: “The MOT team started off on the Alma Estate. I was shocked to hear they were coming across vulnerable people who had not had heating and hot water for a number of years, not months.”

It came during a discussion of the council’s quarterly performance report at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (April 24).

The report shows 94.2 per cent of repairs were carried out on council homes by contractors in the third quarter of 2018-19 against a target of 98 per cent.

The overall satisfaction rate with the repairs was 98.4 per cent.

Cllr Alev Cazimoglu, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “That is really good considering the number of homes we have – but it is one of the things that is not borne out by the anecdotal evidence we come across as councillors.”

Cllr Lemonides said: “Any unsatisfactory repair is cause for concern. We have 44,000 to 54,000 repairs every year – even one or two per cent unsatisfactory is a large figure.”

The housing MOT team – an in-house team of workers sent out to carry out checks and repairs on council-owned properties – was launched in October last year.

It was told to target housing that generates the most complaints and to focus on vulnerable residents who may be unable or unwilling to contact the council about faults.

Cabinet member for public health Cllr Yasemin Brett called for more analysis of the public health implications of residents living in run-down properties.

She said: “It is also something we should be looking at where we have got people who are overcrowded.

“I get people where boys and girls are in the same bedroom over the age they should be. It can cause very serious psychological problems.”

The scale of the housing challenge facing the council was revealed by statistics showing Enfield has the second highest number of households living in temporary accommodation – offered to people after they become homeless – in the whole country.

There are 3,392 households in temporary accommodation in Enfield – up by 78 year-on-year.

One of the main reasons for this is a drop in the availability of private rented properties, partly as a result of welfare reform.

The report states: “The challenges of Universal Credit, tenancy checks and tax reforms, including a reduction in mortgage interest relief, are causing landlords to withdraw from the market or move into the less risky nightly paid temporary accommodation market.”

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan told the cabinet meeting that housing was “the number one issue in the borough”.

She said: “It is why we said repairs was something we would make a priority, as well as accelerating the delivery of homes.”