Brent Council vowed to “improve” the maintenance of its freehold properties following criticism from a residents’ association.

Harlesden Area Action’s chairman questioned the council’s approach to dealing with issues at these properties, citing slow response times and poor communication.

She noted problems at two homes in Harlesden, of which the council is the freeholder, including the “accumulation of waste” and “evidence of rats” remain unresolved.

This, she explained, goes against the council’s obligations to “keep in repair and proper working order the structure and the exterior of the residential properties it owns”.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, responsible for housing and welfare reform at Brent Council, said the council is “committed” to improving all areas of housing in the borough.

She noted that repairs – and a lack of them – are a “pain point” for residents and that problems sometimes arise due to various departments collaborating on one issue.

“Our working has not been as joined up as it should have been. It doesn’t sound like we’ve demonstrated our services as well as we can and we will address the specifics of this,” she said.

A council report showed customer satisfaction rates around repairs are at 83 per cent, which puts it in “the top quartile in London”, though it has ambitions to reach at least 90 per cent.

Cllr Southwood explained there had also been an improvement in the number of completed medium-priority repairs – those done within 14 days – and she hopes to see this rise further.