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Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Leaving homes empty for long periods of time is a major and unwelcome feature of life in Kensington and Chelsea.

For the past year Ludo has been abusing the hospitality of his aunt, the Dame, by 'shacking up' in her palatial Holland Park mansion.
Unable to take the lout any longer she called a friend. 
The friend suggested the TMO might be able to help. 
As Ludo only wanted to be in Chelsea she discovered the TMO had an ideal property for him and his ghastly sister. 

The bijou St Luke's St property sounded ideal...3 bedroom and a charming little patio for those summer parties Ludo and sis love.

Obviously, the TMO found it a difficult property to rent as it had been empty for the past eighteen months!

When questioned the embarrassed TMO tried to lie their way out by saying that work had started this very afternoon!

Council taxpayers should be furious Robert Black's TMO are so profligate with our money a property can be left unrented for eighteen months. 
Work out the maths...£1000 per week means over £70,000 down the drain.

Come Cllr Quentin are in charge of TMO oversight so tell us what the hell is going on.......


  1. It seems like there is a huge PR job to be done by the TMO....gorged with too much money and equally gorged with useless staff.

    1. Barry Phelps- the voice of reason about the TMO- I would never have thought it.

      It is a pity that he supported the anti gay lobby in the Borough when he was on the Council.

  2. Emmanuel Goldstein3 December 2014 at 20:55

    The most probable reason for the property to be left empty is so that it would deteriorate to such a degree that they could then claim that the only reasonable way forward would be to sell it.
    Why does the TMO feel the need to lie when they get caught out. Time to break up this TMO into smaller more accountable units. The scrutiny committee needs to start holding them accountable unless they want to be seen as an ineffective joke.

    1. Emmanuel Goldstein is right. The TMO lies when it is caught out.

  3. This is much too nice a property for the TMO tenants. Much better to sell it off to the private sector.

  4. Scandalous!

    There are homeless families in miserable Bed and Breakfast in this Borough. Yet the Council appears to have no adequate monitoring mechanisms in place to ensure that un-let Council homes are quickly turned round by the TMO when an outgoing tenant departs. It is clear that someone at the TMO lied about works starting on the very same day on which someone enquired about the empty dwelling. If I had a penny for every time that a TMO Official was less than truthful, I would be able to retire. They manipulate facts to distort the truth for their own ends with ease.

    The Council must accept responsibility for this situation. If memory serves me well, Councillor Marshall has done a stint on the TMO Board so he has first hand experience of how useless the TMO is. When he took on the oversight role he must have known that had been handled a poisoned chalice and should have been on the look out for incompetence and wrong doing. If he were being diligent he would have found plenty of incompetence and malfeasance.

  5. When Robert Black was appointed TMO CEO in 2009 one of the long-standing issues he was asked to deal with was the TMO's appalling re-let record as properties lay empty for months for no apparent reason. Five years later the record is no better - properties still remain empty for months and the TMO constantly fiddle the figures by claiming that properties need "work" when they clearly don't. Judged on that single metric his tenure as CEO has been a failure.

    The TMO is no better now than when he took the helm, in may ways it is worse. All we've had is lots of deckchair rearranging - the creation of TMO Repairs Direct, whose primary purpose is clearly not to improve the repairs service but to build empires (the biggest problem with the repairs service being the TMO's own helpdesk who are monumentally useless but are strangely omitted from any attempt at improvement) and the replacement of adequate contractors with completely useless ones - witness the ongoing fiasco with lifts, communal heating and communal lighting on many estates.


    1. Robert Black's performance and attitude are extremely disappointing. Southwark Council, in 1994, had a target of reletting empty properties within 14 days of the former tenant moving out. Southwark was light years ahead of the TMO even twenty years ago. Come on Black, deeds not words please.

      I recall a very different Robert Black when he first started at the TMO. I remember him answering residents' e-mails from the airport before catching his flight to go on holiday. The TMO under his tenure has turned itself in to a fireproof Mafia.

      I am glad that the TMO is now on the Dame's Radar. The Dame may not know that the TMO are very concerned about publicity that they cannot spin and control. Three cheers for The Dame

      Doris Bessant must be turning in her grave at what has come to pass at the TMO under Black.

  6. RBKC accepts responsibility for precisely nothing. Members and officers must take publicly funded courses in lying.

  7. What residents often forget is that the TMO and all the housing associations are light years ahead of most landlords in the private sector at repairing and maintaining their properties. In the private sector, if you complain about disrepair, you get evicted or your rent is raised to an impossible level. If you complain about a Council or housing association property, you have a complaints mechanism that can deal with the problems if the landlord fails to come up to scratch. The Dame should be campaigning for effective regulation of the private lettings sector. So should Marshall. After all, most of the residents in the private lettings sector are Tory voters.

    1. TMO Employee....get on with your work please....
      We are discussing the failings of the TMO NOT the private letting sector

    2. Anonymous at 13.00 would do well to watch the London Live Television Channel which showed up Kensington and Chelsea Council in an appalling light. New legislation is now in force which protects private sector tenants from all sorts of malpractice from private letting agents. Kensington and Chelsea Council stated that they had done nothing about this legislation because it was not in force at the moment. It seems that our Tory Councillors are on the side of private letting agents fleecing private sector tenants.

      The only Council which had implemented the new legislation properly was Newham. Time for K&C to take a lesson from Labour Counci. l

    3. Excusing poor performance by pointing out that there is something worse "out there" is not a justifiable or valid argument.

      The simple truth is that those living in TMO managed property were promised much in 2009. Five years later the TMO has failed to deliver on just about every single one of those promises. Services are the same or worse. In some cases much worse. Costs are not significantly lower. Front line staff numbers have actually been cut. And some of the most questionable staff behaviour is still going on. Given that this has been pointed out to senior staff, it is clearly being willingly tolerated and ignored, which says much of the company's leadership. The cynical might suggest that promises were made solely to avoid the company going into meltdown following three EGMs. That strategy is little more than a sticking plaster - the problems are still there and they will eventually come back to bite.

      The report on the TMO from 2009 is still worth a read. It clearly wasn't what the Council wanted at the time, but it paints an astonishingly accurate picture of what the TMO was, and arguably still is, actually like. That so little has changed should come as no surprise given that virtually all of the report's recommendations have been ignored or merely paid lip service too. Most worryingly the toxic culture the report identified and lambasted appears to be alive and well.

      And, as someone who has had to deal with the TMO since its inception let me say this: the complaints procedure is not worth the paper it is written on - complaints are virtually never upheld, the TMO never admits fault or culpability, decisions are never wrong even when the outcomes are appallingly poor. Under such circumstances it is clearly little more than a box ticking exercise and a waste of everyone's time. Better not to have one at all and drop the pretence that anyone actually cares.

      As far as the private rented sector is concerned: there are good private sector landlords and there are bad private sector landlords. The private rented sector does need more regulation, as there are plenty of cowboys around, but tarring everyone with the same brush is unreasonable. In addition the Council could be doing much to help improve the sector. Other Councils are. Those concerned with the private rented sector would be better off encouraging the Council to do just that.

    4. Anonymous at 9.41 is right. Maria Memoli's Report in 2009 was an exceptional piece of work and not much has changed since then apart from the appointment of Robert Black as CEO and a completely new Executive Officer Team.

      I had such high hopes when Robert Black took over but alas..........they have been dashed. The under performance of the TMO speaks for itself under Robert Black as everyone now knows.

      Robert Black once told me, in the presence of another resident, that it did "not matter who worked at the TMO long as TMO Senior Management was right." I could not believe my ears that a high ranking, highly paid person could think such a ridiculous thing. By the same token, I don't think he could believe his ears when I told him, " an organisation is only as good as the people who work in it."

      I have repeated Robert Black's comments to a person who is on the Board of a major company who told me, "typical public sector mentality- can you imagine the Chief Executive of Asda saying any such thing."

    5. I have recently been informed that the TMO complaints department have been instructed not to log complaints as such but as "Service Enquiries". This means that complaints are not being registered and cannot be progressed through the complaints procedure. The figures can be fiddled on the famous results charts and genuine complaints do not have to be addressed. More corruption.

  8. Asda Supermarket Assistant6 December 2014 at 10:56

    No, Shane, the Chief Executive of Asda would not say anything as stupid or daft as what Robert Black said to you.

    I work at Asda and they expect a lot from us of for a meagre wage unlike the TMO which pays good wages and gets so little from its staff.

  9. Isn’t St. Luke’s Street where disgraced former Labour councillor Marianne Alapini got her father to buy her TMO house for her under the Right to Buy, making her a multi-millionairess now? She was also the Labour councillor who acted as Phelps’s informal Mayoress, despite being told not to by the Labour leadership.

  10. Vitriolic Scourer8 December 2014 at 02:44

    Please tell the Dame more about this Labour Coucillor's disreputable conduct?


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