TENANTS at a block of flats in Bradford city centre have joined a union to take action in an effort to improve their living conditions.

Many of the tenants at City Exchange, on Hall Ings, became members of the union ACORN after saying they experienced a number of problems at the newly refurbished building, which opened in 2018.

Michael Jacobs, managing director of the property management company MLM, accepted the former office building built in the 1970s does have problems but said his team have “spent a significant amount of time fixing” them.

And a spokesman for the lettings manager added that many of the problems had been fixed or were in the process of being resolved.

ACORN organiser Dave Aldwinkle claimed: “It’s an old office block that has been converted into flats and there’s a raft of issues that having been going on for months and months. It’s never ending for the tenants.”

Tenants in the building, which has 119 flats, pay rent to ERE Lettings, TIR Lettings are the freeholder, while MLM Property Management looks after the communal areas of the building. To air their grievances, ACORN groups in Leeds and Sheffield recently picketed outside the offices of lettings agents TIR and ERE in an act of support for tenants across Yorkshire.

Caitlin Johnson, 22, City Exchange tenant and ACORN member, claimed the building was “cold, damp [and] full of mould” and that it flooded during heavy rain storms.

Explaining her decision to join a trades union, she said: “I have joined ACORN so that we can get some support and fight for a decent standard of living here.”

Sara Crawshaw-Bowen, 20, City Exchange tenant and ACORN member, said: “Tenants in City Exchange are experiencing a range of issues.

“The building the intercom has been broken for six months and the front door isn’t secure; kids run up and down the floors vandalising the apartments and stealing people’s packages; and the fire alarms are broken and constantly go off for no reason.

“Not only that, but because of the constant flooding and leaks, there is mould growing everywhere - it affects the hallways, around the lifts and in people’s flats.”

Tenants claim they have been through two power cuts due to floods in the property and the ceiling in the main entrance collapsed due to leaks.

The glass entrance door was smashed before Christmas and tenants claim the building managers replaced it with a piece of plywood, but say that it needed to be secured further.

A spokesperson for TIR said: “TIR’s role as letting manager does not cover maintenance and repairs to the building. This responsibility is with the development manager and the freeholder of the property.

“We understand that many of the issues raised have either been resolved or are in the process of being resolved. “We are communicating with all our tenants about any issues they may have.”

Mr Jacobs said: “There is a concerted effort by all parties to address the issues that are there.

“It’s a brand new development conversion of an old building, so it is bound to have a lot of teething issues. It had some inherent problems that we originally didn’t know about.”

Mr Jacobs explained that the problem with the roof leak at the entrance developed in the autumn of last year when a scaffolding pole accidentally pierced the roof. We are dealing with it but the timeline has been extended because of Covid.”

He also said there was a serious amount of vandalism before which led to the company installing a “very detailed piece of wood to make the front of the building safe”.

He also said the company is in process of reprogramming the intercom system and they are addressing a flooded basement by relocating electrics there to the first floor of the building, which have helped avoid power cuts since the New Year.

Mr Jacobs also said letters have been sent out to ask about mould problems.

“We know about 12 flats having problems and we’ve since found out about six more.

“So we are dealing with the problems, but what I don’t need is ACORN bleating utter nonsense.

“It’s really disingenuous to people who have spent a significant amount of time fixing problems.”